I always love the start of a new year. It’s like I have a clean slate to work from, and I will spend days and months filling it up with all the great things the Lord brings my way. I know everything in my life is for His purpose because I look to Him to guide me every day. And I know, because my heart is set on being where He wants me to be and doing what He wants me to do, every day will bring increase to my life. I am always open to receive all He has for me!
So, what are you expecting to receive this new year? Better health? Improved relationships? More effective ministry? A new job? Financial freedom?
Well, you can have exactly what you expect!
I know one thing we all desire is increase in our lives-every day in every area. And I have found that there is just no end to God’s increase. He is good to His children and His generosity toward us is everlasting. He loves us!
In our 47 years of living in the truth of God’s Word, Ken and I have discovered that increase becomes the standard of living for those who make the decision that receiving from their heavenly Father will be their way of life. When we are born again of God’s Spirit, He puts us on a path that leads us to the life we see Jesus living.
Jesus lived free of lack and worry. He was perfectly healthy. His close relationships were thriving. His every need was met and He met the need of every person who sought Him. His was a life of continual increase to the point that, even by His death and resurrection, He made the way for every person on earth to be filled with God’s glory and provision!
God’s plan has always been to bring increase to His people.
Key #1 – Make Increase Your Way of Life
As Ken and I have been on this path of increase, we have discovered keys to receiving all God has planned for us. His Word clearly tells us He has a plan for His children: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'” (Jeremiah 29:11, New Living Translation).
Part of His plan for us is that we help you discover and live out God’s plan for you in fullness! We have learned from God’s Word that seven things in particular bring increase to our lives: walking in truth and obedience, faithfulness, diligence, tithing, sowing, believing and saying. By applying our lives to these seven things, we have opened ourselves to receiving all God has planned for us-all He needs us to have to fulfill His plan. You notice I didn’t say applying these seven things to our lives. That’s because this is not some kind of formula for receiving increase. Instead, these things have become our standard for living-they are our way of life.
Key #2 – Walk in Truth and Obedience
Many people wonder, Does God really want me to prosper? God answers that question in 3 John 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
In verses 3-4, the Apostle John writes, “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
If our way of life is going to be one of victory and prosperity, we must walk in the truth of God’s Word. Believers all over the world live defeated lives, far below God’s provision, because they don’t know the Word of God and have little faith.
The Word is our source for knowing God’s will and His ways. It expresses His love to us. As we obey His Word, His love is reflected in our daily living, causing us to walk through life just as Jesus walked. John made that clear when he wrote, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments…. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3, 5-6, New King James Version).
The great commandments that Jesus walked in were love God, and love your neighbor (see Mark 12:30-31). There is a lack of love in the world today, and it leads to lack in every area of life. The Word of God and His Spirit living inside teach us how to be true lovers of God and one another. When we walk in those commandments, we discover the power to receive everything else in our lives by faith in His Word-faith fueled by love (Galatians 5:6). So, walking in truth and obedience-living in faith according to God’s Word-is essential to our receiving increase in this life.
Key #3 – Be faithful and Diligent
We all know someone who, when they first heard the truth about all God has made available to His people, grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go of His Word. But somehow their lives seemed to have gone backward. Once filled with all the good things of God, their lives have slipped into distress and struggling relationships. What happened?
They laid aside the truth of God’s Word. Things got too tough or someone began to talk them out of their faith. Maybe they just gave up.
Faithfulness and diligence are also keys to keeping yourself open to receiving all the increase God desires to bring into your life.
“A faithful man shall abound with blessings,” Proverbs 28:20 tells us.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Faithfulness in us makes us go after what God has promised to us. It knows God will bless and increase our lives just as He says. Diligence makes us keep after it…never giving up! It knows there is no other source but God and won’t look anywhere else for provision.
As we practice faithfulness and diligence, we begin to receive what Peter said we should expect:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:2-4, NKJV).
When we know that, nothing in this world can attract us, or distract us. We know our source of life and godliness, and we don’t settle for anything less than God’s will and His way of fulfilling our lives. Whatever He calls us to do, whatever He tells us to do, whatever the Word says to us-that’s the way it’s going to be!
The Spirit of God in us-the divine nature Peter talks about-is how we walk in faithfulness and diligence and receive all the things that enable us to walk as Jesus walked. He lived to love and give to others. That was His purpose, and it should be ours as well.
Key #4 – Tithe and Give
Jesus’ life was the expression of God’s love for people. Everything He did was to show them God’s salvation-to deliver THE BLESSING to them and to deliver them from the curse. Jesus enjoyed His life, His friends and everything He had received as God’s Son. Everything about His life was an investment in people to whom God led Him.
Through the principles of tithing and giving, we have opportunity to invest into the lives of people as God leads us. Tithing gets God involved in our finances. According to the words of the prophet in Malachi 3:11, tithing protects the assets God has given us: “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes.”
For Ken and me tithing is part of our worship. When we locked into God’s Word on tithing, our lives began to change. Proverbs 3:9-10, for example, tells us to “honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency…and with the firstfruits of all your income; so shall your storage places be filled with plenty…” (The Amplified Bible). So, we set our tithe apart, pray over it, thank God for what He has done for us and for what our tithe will do for the ministry of the gospel. We place it into ministry where He tells us.
You may say, “I will have to become more prosperous before I can tithe.” You would be living backward doing that. Tithing is the basis for your prosperity…the foundation of increase for your life. Once you make the decision to tithe, regardless of your circumstances, prosperity will come.
In fact, you’ll find yourself looking for every opportunity to sow into the good works of ministry and into people’s lives. The truth of 2 Corinthians 9:7-11 will become a reality in your life.
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God (NKJV).
Our tithing and giving are fundamental to opening the door for God to bring increase to our lives.
Jesus said it, and I believe and constantly speak it over our lives and ministry: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom…” (Luke 6:38).
Key #5 – Believe and Say
Believing and saying are the final things that bring increase to your life. I say that with all confidence, because I’ve been doing both for more than 42 years and my life continues to increase. Ken and I have lived day by day, step by step, taking hold of God’s truth about every area of life-believing, confessing and receiving all His Word promises. We are living proof of it all.
Romans 10:8-10, NKJV, makes it clear:
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
We have discovered that the same way we received our salvation by believing and confessing, we receive all God has for us…health, good relationships, deliverance, increase.
That’s how we experience everyday life and how we deal with any distracting circumstances that come up. We go to the Word of God to find what He says about it. His Word contains the solution to every problem. It is health to our bodies. It leads us to reconciliation in all our relationships. It shows us the way to prosperity and increase in our lives.
The day we began to trust God and His promises, everything about our lives changed. We believed, and we have been believing ever since. To seal His promises in our lives, we say what the Word has to say about everything!
Romans 10:17 says, “Faith cometh by hearing…the word of God.” Now, hearing is hearing! It may begin with seeing the words on the page of your Bible, but the Word of God coming out your own mouth into your own ears-it becomes faith and it changes things!
First faith changes things in your heart and you begin to think differently…you begin to think the way God thinks. Then you begin to see things differently, the way God sees things. And when you see the truth of God’s Word, it takes over your life. You begin to increase in all the things of God!
Key #6 – Be Transformed
If people don’t learn how to think according to God’s Word, things in their lives will either stay the same or get worse. That’s why the Apostle Paul says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, NKJV).
God needs you and me to be living proof to our world that His will for their lives, and everything that comes with His will, is always good and acceptable and perfect for them.
That’s the whole purpose of these seven things being part of your life. They will change you according to God’s Word so you can live and move in the realm of the spirit-the realm where your increased life begins-the realm where the world will sit up and take notice, and so desire what you have that they will come to Jesus!
God has promised us by His Word that we can walk in truth and obedience, we can be faithful and diligent, we can tithe and give, and we can believe with our hearts and say with our mouths. In other words, we can increase in the things of God, every day and in every way. There is no better time to bring His increase to your life than right now!
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