I had a few discussions over the last week concerning tithing and 401K plans. I just wanted to make sure that I was tithing correctly. One of the people I discussed it with, a pastor, mentioned not getting into fear about it. I stopped and thought about that for a moment. I searched my heart and found that there was no fear in my heart about making a mistake in tithing. However, I did find that because of my love for God I wanted to make sure I was doing things right by Him.
It reminded me of this scripture.
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (2 Corinthians 3:6; KJV)
I thought about the spirit behind God’s instruction on tithing. It is God’s Spirit that is breathed into His Words to us and He is love. When we become legalistic about doing things and get into fear about doing the things of God we miss the Spirit of God behind the instruction. And He is the life in the Words. God loves us and His commands to us are for our good because He loves us. His commands lead to life.
This scripture was part of my daily reading this morning and I believe it gives us an insight into His words and His love.
“Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom; develop good judgement. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.” (Proverbs 4:4-6, NLT)
Follow my commands and you will live. The spirit behind that instruction is one of love. It is not saying, “Follow my instructions or else I’ll take you out.” God is saying, “Follow My instructions because they lead to life. I love you and I want you to live an abundant life.”
Here is a good example of the letter of the law killing.
And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. and he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straight way took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6, KJV)
Just a few verses before this account, Jesus had said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27, KJV). The Pharisees had become so legalistic about the command to rest on the sabbath, that they lost sight of the spirit behind it. “I love My creation man and I have created a day of rest for him.”
The Pharisees were upset that someone was healed on the day of rest because they considered that work and work was prohibited on the sabbath. They were so upset that it drove them to plot to kill the One Whom they believed was breaking all the rules. I guess they forgot about “Thou shalt not kill”. But Jesus being led by the Spirit of God, demonstrated the heart of God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17, KJV)
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world… (John 3:17, Amplified)
God is not trying to find a reason to judge, reject or condemn you. He has given us commands because He loves us and wants us to live abundant lives. Read and meditate about how much He loves you. Follow His commands, not because you are afraid not too, but because you realize He loves you. Obey Him because you love Him.
If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. (John 14:15, KJV)
Hear the Spirit behind the command. It is the Spirit of Love.