Tithing is one of those subjects that most people are sensitive to and really get frustrated over. I don’t blame them. Why we do away with being servants of the law because of the finished works of Jesus but not the whole law just doesn’t make since. I am going to blow a lot of theology here but most of the people reading this are gentiles. You were never a Jew and you were never supposed to live under the Jewish law. Quite frankly you would not be welcomed to. Gentiles were considered dogs to Jews.
In reference to the law Paul wrote, “Gal 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” So why do we tempt ourselves by allowing the law to work in some areas in our life and not others. This is where most of the frustration comes in when someone does not see the law working in their lives. Think of it this way many churches teach that if you give God will give back to you 30, 60 or a 100 fold. If this were truly the case almost every believer would be a millionaire by the end of their first year. Also we have been given everything freely in Jesus. What exactly is 100 times everything? Let’s take a look at tithing in the bible from the bibles point of view and as you will see I do believe there is scripture to support giving under the covenant we live in through Jesus which I show later on but tithing, giving to receive from God, is another story.
The first tithe that we are aware of is in the book of Genesis by Abram. Abram had just went with his men to get back his nephew Lot who was just taken as spoils of war from Sodom by several kings. In retrieving Lot they also retrieved back all the spoils that were taken.
Genesis 14:16-24 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of Heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. 21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of Heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
It was customary in this time of day to give a portion of the spoils as a tribute, a tithe, to a king whom you respected. Melchizedek met Abram and acknowledged that Abram was blessed by God and he blessed Abram himself being a priest of God. Abram then out of respect and being in agreement with Melchizedek gave him a tithe of the spoils acknowledging Melchizedek as his king. Also note that Abram never kept any of the remaining spoils himself but returned the rest to the king of Sodom for he said that he wanted no one to think they had been a part of blessing him that was only reserved for God. So this was a portion of spoils and had nothing to do with Abram’s day to day financial situation. It was a customary tribute given by everyone in that time period to the king that they were submitted to.
Not until the law was given do we see tithing mentioned again in scripture. Leviticus 27:30-32 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. 31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
Numbers 18:24-26 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 25 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
So under the law everyone was to give a tenth of everything in increase unto the Lord and some of that was to be received by the Levites, the priests, so they had substance to live off of. But what was to be done then with the rest of the tithe? This is not something that in 30 years of going to various churches I ever heard taught the way the word literally says.
Deuteronomy 12:5-7 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7 And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.
What? Wait a minute. I have been told countless times to not eat your seed but here under the law God commanded us to have a feast with our own tithes and him as the guest of honor. How many celebrations in churches have you been to where they take the entire tithe to get food and have a banquet with God as the guest of honor? Just in case something was missed here let us go on through scripture and see if we can confirm this.
Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. 23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. 24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, 27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. 28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: 29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Wow. Not only do we have confirmation that God knew what he was talking about but we have even more information. If one were not able to take the tithe to the celebration then they could sell what they were going to celebrate with and buy what they wanted for the party at the celebration location. I didn’t say it God said it, I just agree with him. And what did He say to buy, “ And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household…” Whatever our souls lust after to eat. Maybe you don’t have grapes in your vineyard then buy some wine or other strong drink for the celebration. Don’t have a cow well buy one and have all the steaks you can eat. The whole purpose of the tithe is to have a celebration honoring God in his goodness and faithfulness to provide for whatever our needs are.
The other thing to note was that every third year was a bigger celebration where everyone was invited. I really believe that this was so no one would ever feel as though God had excluded them but that he loves everyone and his provision is for everyone. Well if we aren’t seeing even small regular celebrations then you probably aren’t seeing near as many big ones either. I will say that I have seen some references to these celebrations when churches go out into the city and set up a festival but not to the degree described here. This is what a tithe is then and not what is collected weekly from the majority of churches through the law if death. It is a big celebration with God as the guest of honor.
What then does the believer today to do when it comes to the law of tithing? Before we see what the word says about tithing in light of the finished works of Jesus on the cross let’s take a look of how Jesus was trying to prepare everyone for what was about to take place.
Luke 12:22-32 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Jesus himself was teaching not to worry about the needs we have because our Father gets pleasure in providing all we need to us. A key note in these texts though is Jesus said that if we are not able to do what is least, to trust and believe on God for our provision, then how will we receive anything else. Jesus also noted that for whatever the Father is providing for they do not sew to reap. This is so contrary to what is taught and could not be any more of an opposite. This does not mean that we are to sit home and do nothing and everything just comes to us. Even though the ravens do not reap what they sow for they sow not, they do have to gather what God has provided for them. For the majority of us this is in the provision from the jobs that we have but it is not limited to that. This does not mean that the job is our source but God has enabled his provision to come through that source and then there are so many other ways that provision comes as well.
I know already there are several other scriptures that are racing through your mind that have been preached to you on the tithing subject and you are thinking on the “what abouts”. Well what about them? What about sewing and reaping? Jesus taught about sewing and reaping.
Mark 4:3-14 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. 13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word.
So Jesus clearly stated that in his example the seed that was being sown was money. No, well then what was it? The word of God was being sown. Here is where we can start to learn how to separate the things of God from the things pertaining to man. We cannot sow anything to God and expect an increase of that which was sown back from God. This is a works or law mentality. We can though sow into the lives of those we have influence with. Just by reading this book I am sowing words of life into you and hopefully that will produce a harvest in your living in the grace of God instead of the law of death. Jesus confirms this with another scripture that is oftentimes taken out of context.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. This is the part of the text used continuously to support the works righteousness mentality that we need to give money to receive money but what is the context of the scripture? It is given in the two prior scriptures. Luke 6:36-37 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Then the context of the scripture was not money but in showing mercy in that if you show mercy, or give mercy to others, then that will come back to you by other men. Even people who are non-believers in Jesus see this principle work in their lives. In fact all of the scriptures used for today that tell us we need to give money to receive money are taken out of context or miss applied when we look after the cross if they are telling you that you will receive more than you sow. We will see that we should give and that is what I am going to begin to share but we need to understand that we do not give money to receive more. We give because we see God as our source and we know that it is he that gives us abundantly so that we can provide for those in need. Have you ever noticed God has always provided before the need existed? The issue is never God’s ability but our ability to appropriate his provision. It is out of our abundance we give to not open the door for contempt to enter by giving out of need or lack.
Look at it this way, prior to the law there were three main ordinances that existed which were issues after the cross. Some were discussed and clearly settled by the early believers and others go on thru today. Circumcision, sacrifices and tithing are all examples of what existed prior to the law and all three of these were indoctrinated into the law, and all three of these were fulfilled by Jesus on the cross. I cannot remember sacrificing any cattle to God here lately nor do I hear anyone teaching that they must be circumcised to be saved. Thank God. Well then why would we need to tithe to be on God’s good side or gain anything from him.
Jesus our tithe…..
Malachi is another scripture that many use to try to manipulate people to give out of the law. Malachi 3:1-12 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
In verse 1 God is declaring who the following prophecy is about. Jesus confirms this in Matt 11:10 by declaring John the Immerser as the messenger preparing the way for Jesus. So this prophecy is fulfilled during the time that Jesus started his ministry until the cross. Then verses 2 thru 6 are talking about since the Levites, the priests are not functioning the way they were suppose to Jesus was going to clean out the priesthood and replace it with a new high priest which was himself.
In verses 7 thru 9 the prophecy is stating that because the tithe has not yet been made man was still cursed. Remember Jesus became a curse so that no man would ever be cursed again so if someone decides to use this text to say you are cursed if you do not tithe then they are going against the finished works of Christ, which really is the true meaning of antichrist. In verses 10 thru 12 then we see that once Jesus became the tithe just as he became the offering the devil would be rebuked and everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord is blessed.
Another little tidbit is that in verse 10 it reads, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”, but the word ye is not there and was added. What is there though is אתwhich are the Hebrew letters Aleph and Taf. This may make more since when you use the Greek letters Alpha and Omega. This should help shed a little light, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. ”
This was a prohecy saying, “Bring Jesus, the whole tithe, to the storehouse…” Jesus said we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. Also he said he is the bread of life.
Now with all this being said this does not mean that I do not believe in giving to support the ministry. The focus though is that you cannot give to God to receive more from God. If you notice after the cross the tithe is never brought up again. Why? Because it was law and we know that all of the law for righteousness was fulfilled in Jesus. There are times though that finances are brought up as a matter of giving out of one’s abundance so the gospel could be preached and help those in need.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
2Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
This will be covered in its entirety later but I wanted to point out that one was directed not to give a tenth, in fact the word tithe or tenth never appears again in the scriptures after the cross except in a Hebrews when Paul was referring to Abram and Melchizedek, but direction comes only to give whatever one wanted to so it could be done so cheerfully. If you are giving because you feel you have to and you are doing it even somewhat against your own desire to do so then you are just going to build up resentment and that is a big reason not to give grudgingly.
1 Corinthians 9:9-15 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
Paul was stating here that if you receive from the gospel then you should support it. There is just a simple basic principle here just as in any cause and that is it requires resources to spread the message. So if you believe in the message then you should support the messenger, but even here Paul chose not to receive any funding because he did not want anyone to think he was doing it for the money.
1 Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
Paul is using this same text to teach Timothy that Timothy had a right to receive from the ministry. Timothy was a still young but a pastor of a church and Paul did not want him to feel guilty about partaking of the offering for himself. In fact Paul clearly states that the leader should receive support double to that of others.
2 Corinthians has a lot of insight to giving. Both chapters 8 and 9 deal with it and give a better perspective on what and why. The background on these specific passages is that the year prior the churches of Corinth had made a vow to give to help out the churches in Jerusalem and the churches of Macedonia had heard about it. Out of the excitement of what was going on they wanted to help out as well. The Macedonians then gave more than what anyone thought they would because their financial status at that point was still so poor. Paul wanted to encourage the churches of Corinth then to let them know what was going on and that he would be coming soon to collect their gift as well.
2 Corinthians 8:1-2 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
Paul starts right off for setting the foundation of what he was about to write by stating what Macedonia had done was out of their new found grace in God. Even though at that point they were financially poor they now saw God as their source and out of joy in the message of God’s grace wanted to give what they could to help out those who were in need in Jerusalem. Later we’ll see but this portion of the message to the Corinthian’s was written as a follow up to promise they had made a year ago. Corinth in general was a wealthy town which is why Paul mentions the contrast of the Macedonian churches.
2 Corinthians 8:3-5 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
Paul had not even planned on receiving anything from the Macedonians because of their poverty but they literally begged to help out by donating what they could and even more.
2Corinthians 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
Paul was wanting them to know that one of the reasons that Titus was there was so they could also give in such a fashion as well knowing that provision is through the grace of God.
2Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
Giving is also a part of grace of God. It is just as important as everything else that we receive and walk in through Jesus. Giving to help out others should be equal in our lives in revelation to God’s grace just as healing or anything else.
2 Corinthians 8:8-9 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Here is a key point. The Corinthian’s were wealthy in general so they had no need to give in order to receive, which is what is usually taught by those who keep the law, but here Paul said it is because of what Jesus had done they had the ability to gain wealth. We really need to understand that God should be the source to meet all of our needs. I know we work and therefore receive a salary, but it is God that has blessed you so that you can do so by giving you the abilities you have and it is God who causes increase in your life. These are gifts and they cannot be bought.
2 Corinthians 8:10-14 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
Paul tells them that he knew it had been a year ago when the Corinthian churches had made a promise to help out the poor in Jerusalem and that circumstances were different then. So what they may have determined to give then, as individuals, may be a burden now. Instead of giving what one had planned to in their heart a year ago Paul directed them to give as they could now. He was not saying that to let everyone get out of their promise but they should give out of their abundance. There were some who could not give what they wanted to originally but with that being said there were others who could now choose to give more liberally. But in everyone giving out of their own abundance, whatever that may be, they are all sharing equally in their support and not some out of their own needs.
2Corinthians 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
In reference to God’s provision of manna Paul again is trying to let them know that whether they gave, a little or a lot depending on their individual abilities, God would make it all work out.
2 Corinthians 8:16-21 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. 18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: 20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: 21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
Titus had had the same desire as Paul to see the whole grace of God manifest in Corinth and out of the desire of his own heart wanted to go there to follow up with them. There was also someone else who went along with Titus that had been picked by the churches donating out of Macedonia so that if anyone was to question the use of the funds they could verify it. Paul did not want anyone to think that someone was not using any resources for outside of what they were intended for. This does bring up a good point also in that the funds being collected were not for the preaching of the message, though I am sure no one would have complained if some were used that way, but the intentions were for the funds to help out the poor. Basically the churches were coming together to help those out who had needs but no way of providing for themselves. Yet it was to be done in such a fashion that God would receive all the glory. We really need to look at our motivation for giving and then wisely choose what to do with what we got. First and foremost does it glorify God or man.
2 Corinthians 8:22-24 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. 23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
Paul finishes up here stating that these men being sent are messengers, which in the Greek the word used is apostolos so they were apostles, who desired to come to see the faith that was in the Corinthian churches that Paul was speaking of and he wanted the churches to confirm of his boasting in them by showing the love of God in them to the apostles..
2 Corinthians 9:1-2 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: 2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
Paul said it was not necessary for him to go on talking about giving because he knew how eager they were to give and it was this eagerness that they had he told to the Macedonian churches which is what inspired them to give.
2 Corinthians 9:3-5 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: 4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
Paul had sent his letter along with Titus and the other apostle beforehand so that the Corinthian churches could get together whatever offering they were going to give. This way when Paul along with representatives of Macedonia traveled through Corinth to collect the offering on their way to Jerusalem his boasting of Corinth would be confirmed. He did not want everyone trying to scramble at the last moment in giving, thinking that someone might get the idea they are taking advantage of the circumstances, impulse giving, and not giving out of their hearts desire.
2Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Here is where many fall into the trap of the law. Religious teachers say see the word reads that if you give you will receive and this is why you should tithe. Well this does not even line up with that law doctrine because it states he who sows, or gives, little reaps little and he who gives much reaps much. This does not even remotely sound like a clear cut ten percent event.
Also some say that if you give stingily then God gives to you stingily but if you give abundantly then you will receive abundantly. This again does not coincide with the grace of God. There is something about the influence of the heart of a person that if they cannot give generously or abundantly it is because their heart has not been persuaded to believe that God will supply to them abundantly. If someone is a stingy giver they are usually giving for the wrong motive or have not been persuaded yet that it is God who is their source of provision.
Just like all the things of God you only receive what you believe in and what you believe is what flows through your life out to those around you. If you truly understand and see God as your source in all things then you would be one who sows abundantly because you know that it is God who is abundantly providing for you. If you sow little, more than likely you are just starting to step out in faith seeing God as your source but if you stay that way there is some other hindrance possibly in your heart There is a truth in that people are more giving of anything when it does not cost them. I say that because if one believes they are giving of there own resources they are limited to what they have, but of they truly see God has their source they are more generous knowing that God’s provision is always replenished.
2Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
When we look at giving to support a ministry or help someone out we should not give if we are going to regret it nor should we give out of feeling we need to, as an obligation. Do not let anyone pressure you into giving. But if you are going to give out of the right motive it will make you happy to do so.
2 Corinthians 9:8-10 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
Paul is saying the grace of God is an all encompassing provision and it is God who gives you abundance so that you have the ability to give. In verse 9 Paul is specifically relating to Psalm 112:9 which is in reference to the man who honors God, in that he gives to the poor and then follows up by saying that it is God who not only provides for you but also causes the increase of your resources. God is your source.
2 Corinthians 9:11-12 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
Out of the prosperity that the Corinthians were experiencing because of their understanding of God’s grace it was causing Paul and those around him to praise God in what they were seeing working in the church through their generosity. And what they were doing in giving was not only going to meet the needs of those in need but was also causing God to be glorified.
2 Corinthians 9:13-15 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
By the proof of their actions in giving, God is glorified because they are giving generously out of an understanding of the good news in Jesus. The church in Jerusalem will be praising God and praying for the Corinthian churches because out of the gift they are to receive they will be able to experience how much God’s grace is working in Corinth.
One thing about prosperity is it does not necessarily mean having millions of dollars and everything you could ever dream of owning. You can have all of these things and that is not an issue in and of itself, unless they have you. Prosperity is the opposite of poverty and both are just mindsets. You can have a multimillionaire who has a poverty mindset and can never get enough but on the contrary someone who lives in a third world nation be prosperous because they are content with what they do have. There is a peace that comes in being prosperous. When you enjoy what you have, can get what you need and be content. I do believe that God wants us to have what we want but I have also noticed that as we gain understanding of prosperity, and grow deeper in our relationship with God, a lot of those desires start to change.
At the time of this writing in my life my family and I have lived in everything from a one bedroom apartment to a 6,000 sq. ft. home, and we are not living in either now. All of the various places we have lived met a need and yes we have lived in places we enjoyed more than others but now I am at a point where my heart has been persuaded that it really doesn’t matter as much where I live. Trusting in God for my provision, knowing he cannot fail, is what gives me peace. There is no doubt that we as believers should be financially prosperous for as we have seen in the word that part of being prosperous is the ability to give to every good work not out of our necessity but out of our abundance.
The first time I knew God in this way was when I was a teenager. I was about 18 or 19 and I had gone to a service that was taking pledges for television airtime. I really felt impressed to give $100, which at that time was about a week’s wage. I really didn’t have the money but I went ahead and made a pledge that if I got the money I would give it. Shortly after that I was talking to God and said, “O.k. God you know I do not have the money to give so how can this be met?” I felt impressed to sell the record collection that I had, and since I really didn’t listen to it anyhow there was no hard feelings. I said, “Now God if this is of you I want the $100 even”, but after thinking about it I added, “Make that $110 even not a penny more or less because I need $10 for gas”, so I could take the money to the church. Not surprisingly the store offered me $110 even for the majority of the collection. I even offered to give the guy the rest of the records for a dollar, more to prove a point than wanting the dollar. He said no and I had my first confirmation of God’s provision. I ended up throwing the rest of the records away when I got home.
I wish I could say that this was the way it was for the rest of my life but I was a young Christian at that point and religion had not gotten a hold of me yet. I learned about tithing and thought I had to give in order for God to bless me instead of being taught that I was already blessed. I kept giving but I knew I wasn’t receiving. Out of what, I see now looking back, was resentment and frustration caused by religion my walk with God was rocky at best going through various phases of trying to understand why God wasn’t moving in my life. I would end up spending over 20 years going through this cycle never really truly prospering and even losing almost everything when we went bankrupt. It was not until I learned about God’s grace and who we are in Jesus and received by faith what he accomplished on our behalves that I started seeing a change in my life. It is what put in me a desire to write this book so that everyone who hears what it has to say may also experience God’s grace in their life.
I have heard several people say, “Well I have always tithed and I have always been prosperous”, or, “I did not have much when we first started tithing but after a few years we started prospering.” There is absolutely no doubt that in both of these situations the fact that they gave money to God was not the reason they prospered. There are millions of people who could not give a care in the world about God who are prosperous. Some people just have a better ability to acquire jobs that pay better, good investors or have inherited money. All of which are just worldly applications. Others who are believers in Jesus after time start to believe that God has prospered them and start receiving what he has already given them. It is just like healing or anything else from God, you do not buy it or earn it but receive it and start walking in it.
If you start seeing God as your source then doors will open, whether in a job or meeting others, for prosperity to flow. Remember in Deuteronomy 28:2 the blessings will overtake you, not you seek the blessings. You will experience favor in situations and circumstances that you may never even know about. There are just so many ways that God can supply for your needs and wants to but you have to see him as your source and not in what you do for God, but quite possibly what you do in response to his leading. As I was meditating on this portion of the book the thought entered my mind, “God it’s not money that I seek nor things but it is my relationship with you that I value and want to build upon.” and I was led to Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” I felt the impression of God saying that because He is my treasure that is where my heart is. I have never heard this expressed this way but it does ring true that whatever we value most, that is our treasure, and that is where our hearts are.
While we are on this subject in general I want to give you something to think about when it comes to biblical prosperity. Most people limit prosperity to the all mighty dollar. That is sort of like saying the only car there is a VW Beetle. There are a couple of examples I think when I share these with you will help you at least start to better grasp on prosperity. I have added in here a teaching called “What are you working for?” which I hope will help you receive revelation.
Everything we do to better ourselves in this world is really of no value. What I mean is that the life that we live now is temporal and nothing that we gain physically will we be able to take with us eternally. All the effort we place in receiving that which will pass away is in vain. I know we have needs in order to survive, but God himself promised that if we seek first his kingdom he would supply our needs. Just where the boundary is for us to work, not out of the law, but for provision versus receiving from God sometimes can be a fine line. Believing and receiving everything God has promised, and Jesus has provided by giving of himself, is honoring God and that is what we are to do. So why do we dishonor him by trying to provide for ourselves that which he has promised to? No I am not saying to stop working.
This also does not mean that we cannot be stewards over really nice stuff. As long as the possessions do not possess you then there is nothing wrong with living like Solomon. God is the one who prospered him.
As I started receiving this revelation the first scripture that popped into my mind was that of Paul. He made a very harsh comment on his accomplishments, the works that he had done up to that point to make him the man who he was, Saul.
Philippians 3:6-9 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Paul had said that in all of his own effort to earn righteousness everything he had worked so hard for to accomplish was dung. Yes manure or whatever you want to call it. I know that he specifically was relating to his own efforts in attaining life eternal by works righteousness of the law versus the only way, which is by receiving Jesus as Lord and savior. My question though is we know that there is no greater reward or miracle than salvation yet God has not only promised and has given us salvation though Jesus but health, prosperity, provision to all being free from lack in our lives. If we receive the greatest then why would we earn the lesser. I will say one other thing on this in that it is more of a Western mindset that is influencing much of the world, to separate these issues. In the traditional Jewish way of thinking salvation, health, peace, prosperity all the good qualities of life are coequals. We tend to qualify them to greater or lesser degrees but they are meant to all be part of one synergetic relationship.
I know Paul had great revelation about the relationship we have between us and God, about God’s promises and faithfulness. I know that there are instances where he worked himself so as to not be a burden but a blessing. But in these instances he worked to be able to be a benefit to others, not trying to get from them anything so that people would stay focused on God and not think of him as a prosperity preacher. You know those who prosper by receiving but not rightly teaching so those who give suffer. I know for a fact we are all to be prosperous, but just as with all things of God there is his way, which is the right way, and then the perverted way, which many teach at the expense of others.
What I am getting at is we know we all need to work, and I truly believe we are designed to do so. Even Adam and Eve in the idea situation tended the garden. Here is where I think though there are differences, and that is the motive in which we work for. If we are working so that we can have wonderful things and nice vacations then our motives are wrong. Why? Not because there is anything wrong with that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a nice house, car, furnishings, clothing, vacations etc. but if that is the only reason you are working then that is wrong. That is being only selfish, focusing on having the best temporary experience possible but not being conscious of what is eternal.
The way to look at this now is that there is nothing wrong with living a life having a nice house, car, possessions etc., but was it all out of our own efforts or was it as a result of receiving the blessing of God? When you look at the life you live and the possessions you have were they all out of your own hard work or do you see the hand of God thinking to yourself that there is no way I could of attained all of this without God? This is only part of the coin though. The other side is our main focus should not be working to provide for only our families, but to minister to others.
Here is a reality check folks in that God does not print money. He works through those who will so that he can. There are several people who have great financial wealth and they know that it was only by the grace of God that they have received it. They also understand its purpose and that is to help share the gospel. Whether to give to those in need, so that that person in need can physically experience the love of God, or to give to those who minister to teach the word, they have learned to look at provision in their life from the correct perspective.
To me the bottom line is God said, not Tom, the following: Matthew 6:19-34 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Before I expound upon this I want to reiterate that there is nothing wrong with having things. What I want to help you think about though is what is truly important. Jesus said that our focus should not be acquiring the treasures of this world but treasure in Heaven. There are a couple of good points to come out of this. The first is that you cannot ever find true happiness by acquiring things. This does not mean that you cannot enjoy them. There is a difference though. Happiness comes about as a fulfillment of a need being met. It is a mental state of well-being. If your desire is to just keep getting bigger, better or more than you cannot be happy because you are not a peace. Enjoyment comes though from the use or possession of something beneficial or pleasurable. Interestingly though we can store treasures in Heaven though and find both happiness and enjoyment in doing so. When you give to others, not only those in need, but to everyone and anyone, expecting absolutely nothing in return from them this is when you are storing up treasures in Heaven. It can become almost like a game. One of the neat ways of doing it is giving your gift in secret with a simple note saying something like, “Just because your Heavenly Father loves you he has given this to you.” Then sign it Jesus. This is not blasphemous either. Everything we do we are to do unto the Lord and give him the glory.
Verse 21 said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” I have already gone over this earlier in the chapter but just want to reiterate the fact of what do you truly treasure?
Verses 22 and 23 about the light of body are the eyes, is not about what you allow to influence your life. Although I have heard this taught umpteen times as such the focus here in context is money or assets. There is a truth that what you see and expose yourself to you can influence your heart but that does not make any since in this teaching of Jesus. Have you ever heard the term idiom? Every culture uses them and they may change over time. We have one that use to be real common in that when it was raining real hard out we would say, “it is raining cats and dogs”. Could you imagine someone a thousand years from now reading something written by us who had never heard of such a phrase? They might think that God was raining some sort of plague upon the people. Well to have a good eye or an eye full of light is to be a generous person. One who gives to whoever is in need. It is an older Jewish idiom. On the contrary to have and evil eye or an eye not full of light but darkness is to be greedy or stingy. This may help you out when you read some of the gospels.
Verse 24 is pretty straight up. You can only have one god and who is it going to be? If it is money then it is not the creator of the universe, the one true God. But if it is our God, our Father, then don’t be concerned about gaining vast fortunes on your own.
In the rest of this scripture, verses 25 thru 34, Jesus really breaks it down to a simple fact. He declares that the other life forms on this earth such as birds and plants do not sow and reap or are concerned with what they wear, so then why do we? The focus being that outside of man, nothing invests in its own efforts to gain but relies on God’s provision to sustain. I was watching a great example of this with some bears out in the wild. They were eating berries that they had not grown, and catching fish that they did not farm. They were playing and wrestling as cubs. But the bottom line is they solely relied on God’s provision. Now they did not just sit around and do nothing. They had to receive God’s provision by harvesting the berries and catching the fish. But this reminds me of Adam and Eve. They did not plant the Garden of Eden but they tended to it and ate of its provision.
I know the scripture is very clear that we are to work and not be lazy. In fact it says let him who steals steal no more so that he may have to give to those in need. I really take this to heart meaning that he who does not work is a thief. My hope though is this will aid in helping you to start focusing your heart as to why you are working and what for. Working to minister to others regardless of what job you have.
As a different example on provision versus personal gain, I personally know a family who occasionally voluntarily ministered. The husband worked at least two full time jobs all the time and they were good jobs. The wife also worked full time. I honestly have no idea of what kind of offerings they gave and that is not the point. These people did have a nice home, family, cars and vacations. Sort of the American dream type of life, but I fail to see how this is God’s provision and this is why. They obtained everything by what they did through a whole lot of work. In appearance they were no better off than some of their neighbors, where only one spouse worked or maybe both but not multiple jobs. The area they lived was nice but not some super high end area, just nice. Looking at scripture when I see God’s provision it is like getting gifts, or if you want to legal about it a return for no real investment. There are millions of non-believers who are millionaires. They have worked hard, invested or cheated but they have acquired great fortunes. And yes regardless of the drama you hear on the news there is no shortage money. There literally are millions of millionaires and over 1,200 billionaires. There has not yet been the first trillionaire in the world but if Bill Gates had continued as he was progressing years ago it was projected he would have been it. I am laughing because my spellchecker did not even recognize the word trillionaire.
When you look at the lives at several of these individuals they are smart, hard working and good investors. Most of them are great philanthropists and this is why many think they are “blessed” to have such wealth. But I beg to differ. There is no doubt that they are doing many good works. That they are helping out many individuals who are in dire need. But they are not giving God the credit. Now in various cases God may be working through them to answer the prayers of others and fulfill his promises. But they are not wealthy because of God’s provision but by their own efforts. Face it really it is not that impressive to someone if another individual works hard and attains wealth because that is what we would expect, but if you see someone enjoying life and not killing themselves working to be prosperous and they give God the glory who would you want to be more like? Do you want to be stressed out working long hours making sure every penny is accounted for or would you want to have God just bless and multiply everything you put your hands to and speak over so that you have abundance and can give to others with little effort of your own?
At the end of the verses we mentioned earlier Jesus said that non-believers, Gentiles at that time, sought after the things of this world that they needed and or desired to have. But as believers we are not to do so, we are to have them, but we are to receive them from God as part of his provision for us. Meanwhile we are to stay focus on the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Not us being righteous but his righteousness, which is his faithfulness to his covenant.
I know many many many Christians who are prosperous, but in reality I wonder how many have just earned everything they have and labeled it has being blessed by God. I think of Peter and when Jesus showed him the prosperity of God versus man.
Luke 5:1-9 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
Seasoned fisherman who had fished the way that in the natural was the best way they could and yet out of all their labor for the whole evening they had caught nothing. But by acting on the Word of God they had prospered, with almost no effort, more than they ever had in their entire lives. There used to be a little joke that this haul of fish allowed them to pay off the boats, sell the business and finance the ministry. What really happened God only knows but we way under estimate God’s ability, his willingness and desire to work in such magnificent ways in our own lives. I think we just feel like Peter, so unworthy of such things. The truth is we are not worthy and thank God we do not get what we deserve. Instead we get his grace, mercy and unconditional love. We get the opportunity to receive of his goodness and kindness. Not only so we have all we could need but so we can boast of our Father and share his abundance with others.
Paul has taught me something very important. We are to give, but never to give out of our own need or begrudgingly. Paul, nor anyone else, commanded anyone to keep the tithe after the cross because that was of the law. But as we do give out of our abundance with a joyful heart, a willingness to share God’s love in a special way I believe we learn to become better receivers. If we give out of our lack then we can open to door to becoming bitter towards God without even desiring to become so. If you give expecting God to be an ATM and just give it back to you then you are giving out of the wrong motive. I know that is not what is commonly taught, but I have studied and experienced this. Every time I have had God personally do something for me it was never out of giving but just believing God is faithful and he loves me. I have listened to his leading, because sometimes you have to go to your provision. When I have missed it, I can honestly say it is because I have missed it. I got my eyes focused off of God and onto my need or want.
Looking back in scripture though don’t think that prosperity is literally just about money. Look at the children of Israel when Moses led them out of Egypt. For 40 years there was no lack. Everyone was healthy, their clothes never wore out and God provided their food. I am just as guilty as others, but I find it funny that God provided for these people for 40 years all of their needs and they were wealthy to boot, yet we hope God can provide a meal, or a car or a house for us. “God if you could just please help me out with this”, as if God was in some sort of shortage. No one knows definitively how many people he led out of Egypt. It is fair to say that up to 2 million is not unreasonable since we now based on scripture there were 600,000 men able to fight alone. Ironically these people complained when they thought they weren’t being provided for and many of us are afraid to ask God for provision. Getting back to the main point though, these people were wealthy, but all that wealth was not going to do them a bit of good in the middle of the desert. They needed God’s divine provision in materialistic things and they received it, especially food, water and clothing.
Going back to the title of this little teaching, “What are you working for?” Are you seeing what has been motivating you as we have been going over this? You know from God’s perspective he loves you regardless of your motives, but he also wants what is best for you. You should never feel condemned about what you are doing, even if you are just focused on you or your family. But you should find comfort in knowing that you do not have to go at it alone. You can choose to help meet the needs of others and also receive from God to meet your needs.
Deuteronomy 2:6-7 Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink. 7 For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.
This may be more of a revelation from God then just practical logic but this is a scripture that helped me make the transition from working for my family to desiring to allow God to flow through me to meet the needs in ministry. He revealed to me how he provided and blessed Israel so that they could fulfill his will on earth and to do so they would need to engage in commerce. And there are more:
Deuteronomy 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Deuteronomy 28:8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
My purpose in this chapter was to help you focus off of your needs and focus on God for his leading to see how you can meet the needs of others with what you do have. Relying more and more on God to give you opportunities to meet the needs of others through his provision and to share the gospel in whatever capacity it may be. See God as your source; go to him for counsel on business decisions. Listen to his leading which many times is just following the desires of your heart that he put in you. If you truly have peace and it is a desire that truly glorifies God, then that is God leading you.