Generosity of Joy
Do you ever find yourself nit-picking your friends, your children, your husband? There are definitely times when I can be a little snarky with my husband. When he gets home, he leaves a trail from the front door to the kitchen of the mail, his work out clothes, his lunch dishes…you name it.
This is funny, coming from him, because he is so particular about other things, like being on time. He loves to say, and have my kids chime in with him (in unison): “If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late!”
Oh, the irony: I like things neat and he likes to be on time. But he is a bit messy and I am almost never early…in fact, a little too often, I am a few minutes late. How the Lord must laugh at the two of us.
It is easy to get your nose out of joint over small things. And it is even easier to get sidetracked over the sharp barbs of bigger things. We are most vulnerable with those we love. But what is really at stake in our tender hearts, I wonder?
[Pride] is opposed not only to humility, but also to magnanimity (Thomas Aquinas).
Magnanimity is my new favorite fancy word. Let it roll around your mind a bit. Try to say that word 5 times. Or even twice, because that’s hard. It means generosity. Thomas Aquinas says that when we are full of pride, we are lacking humility. We all kind of knew that already, right? But let’s get acquainted with the truth about humility. Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less (C.S. Lewis). Humility is important in our relationship with the Lord…because we must think of Him, more than of ourselves, in order to love and obey Him. Jesus did that: Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:6-8). But humility is important in our relationships with other people too. It allows us to be magnanimous, or generous.
When we are filled with pride, we cannot be generous with others.
Do you find yourself disapproving of another mother’s parenting? Pride. Do you find yourself annoyed at the slowness of a new cashier or waiter? Pride. Do you criticize others frequently? Pride. Do you resent having to wash the same Camelbak everyday for the man bringing home the bacon? Pride again. (sorry Sweetie!). Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). Pride is a trap. Pride is a lie. It makes us feel big when we think these small thoughts. But these thoughts don’t honor God and are very unbecoming of us. Our thinking becomes smaller and smaller, as pride takes up residence and pushes love out. Our clenched teeth and clenched fists don’t allow us to take hold of the truth.
There is freedom in humility and generosity, because it is freedom from sin.
Where there is freedom from sin, there is joy.
We have to lay down Pride to be free. We have to see it in ourselves and run from it. Pointing out the flaws in others and not seeing them in ourselves is the danger zone. What keeps me humble is to realize that any sin against a person is a sin against God first.
So before I criticize someone else or exalt myself, I remember that God is offended by that. And if I forget, I can repent, because He is forgiving like that. We should all be forgiving like that. Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1-3).
Walking in freedom allows us to Abide in Relationship with Others. Please let us know, are you walking in the freedom that Jesus purchased for you during this, our #SummerofJoy? If not, what’s holding you back?
Please share with our #SummerofJoy community about a time that you felt God’s steadfast love. Or tell us about how the love relationship between you and God brings you joy.
This summer we are inviting you to join us
on an 8 week journey towards
abiding in the harvest.
We have an entire resource page set up to help you succeed. Each week we will be adding new ideas to it. This week we would encourage you to read the suggested daily scripture, select one or two of the action activity ideas, start a joy journal to implement, and be sure to subscribe to the Summer of Joy Spotify playlist.
Oh, and because we think this is super fun and every big kid (a.k.a:adult) could benefit from some added joy in their life we would love for you to share it with a friend or two. #summerofjoy
Find all the resources you need to get started here.Britta is a sojourner. She was a military kid and is a military wife, now living in the high desert of Arizona and far, far from her New Orleans family. She happily homeschools and one of her favorite hobbies is snuggling on the couch reading history and literature with 11-year-old Gracie and 9-year-old Josh. Britta and her husband Scott recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary. Britta writes about the intersection of God’s Word and her world at Britta Lafont ~ Everyday Holiness (brittalafont.com).