Post image for Managing Your Money In Light Of The Gospel Part 3: Imitators Of Christ – Willing To Give Up All

Managing Your Money In Light Of The Gospel Part 3: Imitators Of Christ – Willing To Give Up All

by KNS Financial on May 26, 2011

This is our third article in a series that takes a look at how a proper understanding of the gospel should influence how we manage our finances. In the first article, we examined the fact that we are now slaves of Christ, and merely stewards of God’s resources. Then, in the second article, we took a look at our response to God’s grace – gratitude – and how it should shape our financial management.

Now we will take a look at another truth of the gospel, that should have a major impact on our finances. The gospel is a call to faith and obedience, in which we are empowered to be imitators of Christ! In a number of places in the New Testament, we find this command:

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1

“You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:6

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” ~ Ephesians 5:1

We are saved by God’s grace – in part, being transformed from being salves to sin, to now being slaves of Christ. Thankfully, God has also given us His Holy Spirit, in part to aid in our sanctification! That means that we are now being conformed to the image of Christ, and we are commanded to be imitators of Christ!

Since many books have been written out this subject, I’ll only focus on how this should impact our money management.

Willing To Give Up All He Had For Our Benefit

When Christ left heaven to take on the form of a man, in order to redeem His bride, he put aside much. Take a look at what the bible says about Christ becoming a man:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ~ Philippians 2:5-8

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. ~ Matthew 20:28

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. ~ 2 Corinthians 8:9

Jesus Christ came down to earth and did not try to hold on to all of His divine attributes when He took the form of a man. We are told that He became a servant, and gave His life for many. He humbled Himself to the point that He was willing to temporarily give up “equality with God“, endure human hardships and temptations, live a perfect life, and become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21)!

Here is how John MacArthur describes Christ’s self-emptying (kenosis):

This was a self-renunciation, not an emptying Himself of deity nor an exchange of deity for humanity. Jesus did, however, renounce or set aside His privileges in several areas:

  1. 1) Heavenly glory – while on earth He gave up the glory of a face-to-face relationship with God and the continuous outward display and personal enjoyment of that glory (cf. John 17:5)
  2. 2) Independent authority – during His incarnation Christ completely submitted Himself to the will of His Father (cf. Matthew 26:39; John 5:30, Hebrews 5:8)
  3. 3) Divine prerogatives – He set aside the voluntary display of His divine attributes and submitted Himself to the Spirit’s direction (cf. Matthew 24:36; John 1:45-49)
  4. 4) Eternal Riches – while on earth Christ was poor and owned very little (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9) and…
  5. 5) A favorable relationship with God – He felt the Father’s wrath for human sin while on the cross (cf. Matthew 27:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

~ The MacArthur Study Bible, pg 1792; notes on Philippians 2:7 (emptied Himself)

Imitate Christ’s Willingness To Give Up All

Jesus Christ was willing to give up all that He had in order to fulfill the Father’s will. That needs to be our attitude as well. We should be willing to give up all that we have – money, position, prestige, rank, power, and wealth – in order to further God’s kingdom, and to fulfill His will!

In our last article, we talked about a number ways in which you can be show your gratitude for God’s grace. At least two of those areas can lead to great ways for us to be imitators of Christ!

Giving to the local church

When it comes to God’s plan, he does much through the local church. We are taught God’s word by the faithful men who serve as elders/pastors/overseers – Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us that God gave gifts to us in the form of pastors and teachers, so that we would be equipped to serve God, and built up!

Here is what the bible says about financially supporting these men:

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:17-18

Also, the church is the institution that trains and ordains preachers, supports missionaries, and works to spread the gospel! Another obligation of the church is to provide support for “widows indeed” (those who fit the qualifications of 1 Timothy 5:3-10).

None of those things can be done unless we, as members of the body, learn to imitate Christ and be willing to give all that we have to fulfill God’s will.

Now, before anyone thinks that I am advocating that all Christians sell everything they have and give it to the church and live together in a compound, consider this: It is God’s will that we work hard (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13), provide for our household (1 Timothy 5:8), and even pay taxes to the ruling government (Romans 13:1-7). You can’t be in God’s will if you are not doing these things along with supporting your local church!

In order to further God’s kingdom, and to support the church for which Christ died, and is also its head, we must be willing to give of all that we have!

Helping Those In Need

This is another way in which we are to imitate Christ. He humbled Himself and experienced the anxieties and temptations that come with living a human life (cf. Hebrews 4:15 and Matthew 26:36-44)! The triune God (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) was perfectly complete and satisfied before creating the world and the human race, yet, Christ still humbled Himself and took the form of a servant, in order to redeem us!

We should be willing to humble ourselves in such a way, to help out a brother or sister. We should constantly look for ways to help out one another, whether though our church, or individually.

We are commanded to:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important that [our]selves. ~ Philippians 2:3

In order to do this, we must be willing to give up some of the riches and possessions that we would be able to acquire if we used all of God’s provision on ourselves!

However, the point is that we must be will to live a meager life if it means that we have a larger impact on the kingdom because of it. We know that God will always provide for us, so we should never allow fear or selfishness to deter us from doing God’s will.

What You Can Do To Manage Your Finances As An Imitator Of Christ

  • Examine your heart for any areas of pride and selfishness, repent of those sins, and ask God to help you be humble and selfless
  • Study all of the scripture quoted and referred to in this article and meditate on them daily
  • Look for opportunities to serve in your local church
  • Make sure that your lifestyle isn’t stopping you from financially supporting your church and/or helping others
  • Make giving the most important line item in your budget
  • Examine all of your purchases and monthly bills, and ask yourself if you can cut back in some areas in order to put God first
  • Read the first two articles (part 1 & part 2) in this series and meditate on the scripture listed there
  • If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment

Google+ Comments

Related Posts