Withholding

Withholding:
The Pitfalls of Neglecting God’s Priorities


“Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face to face with God.”
Oswald Chambers

“The only way the kingdom of God is going to be manifest in this world before Christ comes is if we manifest it by the way we live as citizens of heaven and subjects of the King.”
R. C. Sproul

In our last blog, The Journey Matters, the Bible calls us to shift our focus from the steps to the process so that we can discover the immeasurable value the journey itself holds. Our spiritual journey becomes a testament to God’s transformative power and as we walk with Christ, He will guide our steps in the process of leading us to a deeper understanding of His purpose and fulfillment in Him.
Therefore, in our journey of faith, it is crucial to recognize the aspects that hinder our spiritual growth. One such aspect is withholding—failing to prioritize God in our lives. In a biblical context, there are several ways in which people can withhold, or hold back, certain things. These can have various consequences, both spiritually and in practical terms. This blog will explore the consequences of withholding, including its impact and implications on our spiritual health. By delving into scriptural references, we will gain a deeper understanding of the dangers of withholding and the transformative power of placing God first in our lives.

Withholding and Neglecting God’s Primacy
As with everything, we start with Christ and His preeminence; He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together (Colossians 1:15-20, ESV). Throughout the Bible, we find a consistent theme of putting God first in our lives, loving Him with our whole being, and seeking His guidance and righteousness above all else. The Bible contains several scriptures that emphasize the importance of giving God our utmost devotion and making Him our top priority (Matthew 22:37-38, Mark 12:30, cf Deuteronomy 6:5 and Exodus 20:3-5). These commandments emphasize the importance of loving God with our entire being. It signifies that our devotion to God should surpass all other priorities in our lives. Jesus also taught that we should “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, ESV). By making God our top priority, we can trust that He will provide for our needs. Paul mirrors this instruction in Colossians 3:1 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (ESV). Not placing God first in our lives influences everything.
Genesis 4:3-5 contrasts Cain and Abel and their attitude towards and faith in God. Scripture tells us Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground. His offering lacked sincerity and cost him nothing in that it was not an offering from the fruit of his labor. On the other hand, Abel brought the firstborn and best of his flock. Cain’s offering signified neglect of God’s primacy by not honoring Him with the first fruits or the best of what he had. The Israelites were accused of the same neglect of God’s primacy in Haggai 1:7-11. Israel had neglected the rebuilding of the temple and had, instead, prioritized their own houses and personal interests over the rebuilding of God’s house. Subsequently, God withheld His blessing from them. Haggai 1:9 says, “You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? Declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.” Moreover, God laments His people forsaking Him in Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Neglecting God’s guidance and seeking fulfillment in our efforts, represented by broken cisterns, rather than relying on God, results in the risk of losing the blessings and provisions that come from aligning ourselves with His will. Instead, Scripture calls us to consider our ways, trust and rely on God, acknowledge Him in everything we do, by surrendering our understanding and plans and giving God the priority in all aspects of our lives, and He will straighten our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Withholding Influence
As followers of Christ, we are called to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). However, when we withhold our influence, failing to live out our faith boldly, we become ineffective in fulfilling the Great Commission. By withholding the message of hope and salvation from others, we deny them the opportunity to experience God’s transformative love. Ecclesiastes 11:6 emphasizes the importance of taking action and not being idle – “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” Jesus often uses the sowing of seed as representing the word of God, as a metaphorical representation of spreading the message of the Kingdom of God. Thus, if we place Ecclesiastes 11:6 in the context of fulfilling the Great Commission, it implies that we need to actively share the message of hope and salvation with others and not withhold our hand, for we do not know which will prosper. By withholding our influence, we fail to sow the seed of God's Word and neglect the opportunity to impact lives for eternity.
Therefore, our lack and ineffectiveness in fulfilling the Great Commission can be defined as a failure to take action, be generous in sharing the message of hope and salvation, and sow the seeds of God’s Word in the lives of others. By withholding our influence, we not only deny others the opportunity to experience God’s transformative love but also limit the blessings and rewards that God wants to pour into our own lives. In Luke 6:38 we are told to “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” While verse encourages generosity and a spirit of giving, in the context of sharing our faith, it implies that when we withhold our influence and fail to give the message of hope and salvation to others, we also deny ourselves the blessings and rewards that come from participating in God’s work. Our lack of action limits the measure of God’s grace and provision that can flow through us.

Withholding Generosity and Resources
The Bible encourages believers to be generous and willing to share their resources, both in terms of time and treasure. When we withhold generosity and resources, it leads to selfishness, a lack of compassion, and a failure to fulfill the command to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we neglect our relationship with God, we suffer spiritually and physically. Spiritually, withholding leads to spiritual famine and poverty, characterized by a lack of spiritual growth, purpose, and fulfillment. Proverbs 11:24 reminds us, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want” and Proverbs 21:26 “All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back” (ESV). Paul echoes this in 2 Corinthians 9:6, when he states, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (ESV). Paul encourages believers to be generous, trusting God to provide, and emphasizes the principle of abundance through generosity. If someone sows sparingly, meaning they withhold or give sparingly, they can expect a limited harvest in return. However, if someone sows generously, without holding back, they often experience an increase in blessings and resources and can expect to reap a generous harvest. Thus effectively drawing a contrast between the desires of the selfish and the actions of the righteous. The selfish person constantly seeks to accumulate more for themselves, never finding satisfaction. However, the righteous person gives generously without holding back, displaying a willingness to share their resources. In Malachi 3:10, God encourages us to test Him in the area of tithing and promises to pour out blessings upon us. Moreover, withholding inhibits our ability to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving and robs us of the joy that comes from experiencing God’s goodness in our lives. Let us, therefore, encourage a lifestyle emphasizing the generosity of our time and treasures for God to increase our blessings.

Withholding Love, Forgiveness, Compassion, and Grace
Sowing seed is also used as a metaphor for personal and spiritual growth. In Galatians 6:7-8, Paul writes, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Here, sowing seed refers to the choices and actions individuals make and the consequences they will face as a result. The Bible teaches that love and forgiveness are essential in relationships and interactions with others. When we withhold love and forgiveness, harboring resentment or refusing to show compassion, it can lead to broken relationships, bitterness, and a hindered spiritual life. Paul emphasizes the principle of cause and effect in our actions and choices. If we sow seeds that please our selfish desires and withhold from others, we will eventually reap destruction and spiritual poverty. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 further reinforces this principle: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Both verses emphasize the principle of reaping what we sow. Withholding from others results in ineffectiveness and spiritual poverty because it goes against God’s principles of love, generosity, and selflessness. On the other hand, when we sow generously and give freely, we experience abundance, blessings, and spiritual growth. When we withhold, we limit the flow of God’s blessings in our lives. By being stingy or holding back, we miss out on the joy and fulfillment that comes from being a conduit of God’s provision and love. True spiritual richness comes from selflessness and giving, as we align ourselves with God’s heart and purposes. When we open our hearts and freely give, we become vessels through which God’s love can flow, and we experience the transformative power of generosity. May we strive to live a life of open-handedness and generosity, trusting in God’s provision and seeking opportunities to bless others.

Withholding in various aspects of our lives can have profound negative consequences on our spiritual journey. By neglecting God’s primacy, failing to influence others positively, and withholding generosity, love, forgiveness, and grace, we distance ourselves from the abundant life God desires for us. As we recognize the dangers of withholding, let us recommit ourselves to placing God first, embracing the Great Commission, cultivating a heart of thanksgiving, extending forgiveness and grace to others, and experiencing the fullness of life that comes from a vibrant relationship with our Heavenly Father.


Posted in ,
Posted in , , , ,

No Comments


Recent

Archive

Categories

Tags

Bible Blessings of God Business Calling Children of God Church Conflict Correction Created Culture Devotions Discipline Encountering God Enjoying God Evangelism Faithfulness Faith Fatherlessness Fathers Finances Focus Forgiveness Freedom Genuine worship Giving your best God the Father God's promises God's Glory God's creation God's plans God's presence God's promises God's will God\'s plans God\'s promises God\\\'s plans God\\\'s promises Gods presence God Going deeper Growth Healing Holy Spirit Honor Humility Image of God Impact Impossible Indignation Jesus Joy of Salvation Joy Kingdom of God Kingdom Knowing God Knowing Jesus Lord's Prayer Lord\'s Prayer Lord\\\'s Prayer Love Making Jesus Known Maturity Mentorship Ministry Miracles Mission Obedience Offerings Passion Patience Perception Platform Priesthood Promises of God Relationships Rest Sacrifice Salvation Serving God Simplicity Sin Spiritual depth Transformation True Worship Understanding Walking with God Wisdom Worship Zeal accountability anger anxiety balance beliefs character christianity church authority church government church leadership church ministry comfort communication community conflict resolution counsel creation death decisions desires destiny discipleship discontent disease distraction diversity doubt dreams encouragement faith in suffering faith journey faithfuiness false religion focus on God frustration future grace health hearing God heart honoring God hope in death hope how do I grow in faith hunger for God identity idols illusion image judgement leadership life living for Jesus manipulation mental health mercy nations peace perfection perspective plans prayer prophecy punishment purity purpose religion risk seeking God significance stewardship strength success suffering surrender time with God trials trusting in God trust truth unity value women in ministry