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Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love: Lesson 5, question 4

bdv4's picture

4. Augustine states that we should not see alms-giving as "buying off" God. Are there any other practices which we personally do which we see implicitly as "buying off" God? How could we modify our lives to exclude them?

JeffLogan's picture

In the Marketplace of life

These thoughts, Lawrence, can be likened unto fiery darts that we suffer from various sources but which all originate with the enemy of our souls.

In Eph 6:16 we are admonished to put on the whole shield of God, and "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

How does one put on faith? It comes by hearing, we are told. By simply hearing the promises of God.

Hear these words of Paul in Eph. 3:16-19, where he is praying for the Gentile believers, that God would grant them, "according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Sometimes when I feel particularly 'out of whack' with God I remember this verse and repeat it to myself. (It would help to memorize it so you have it handy. Or at least write it down on a small piece of paper that you can carry with you to read often until you do memorize it.) Of particular import to us is the fact that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith--by simply believing this promise and trusting Him to keep His word.

Guess what happens when Christ dwells in our hearts by faith? Peter tells us, "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature... (2 Peter 1:2-4)

It is indeed an exceeding great and precious promise that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. When I repeat this to myself my attitude changes and spontaneously I notice a change in my attitude, actions, and how I feel that day. I don't set out to try to please God but I know that by simply believing His promise I can have Christ living in my heart. And what a wonderful joy it is to know this truth.

Why don't you try reading these verses every day and see if it doesn't change things dramatically. Don't worry about 'the marketplace', just repeat this promise to yourself whenever and wherever you find yourself at 'the bargaining table'. I think you will find that the marketplace takes care of itself.

God will bless you!

    “The path of true piety is so plain as to require
    but little political direction.” --George Washington,
    re: absence of "Jesus Christ" in

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV