Have you ever had an "Aha!" moment? A moment that caused you to change the way you think about something or view it in a different light? I had that type of experience regarding how I viewed giving around 15 years ago. Otter Creek was having a teaching series on tithing as a spiritual discipline.
I had always known intellectually that giving was something I wanted to be part of, but it wasn't really something that I did "joyfully" (2 Cor. 9:6-7). In fact, it was an area in which I found myself holding back and it had been causing some tension in my marriage because I am married to a man for which generosity comes easily. As I listened to the lessons on tithing as a spiritual discipline, I was struck by the fact that my issues with giving weren't really about the money at all, but centered on control and trust. At the heart of it, I was more willing to place my trust in my own ability to plan out my future than I was in God. That was my "aha" moment.
The tricky part was moving forward with that new found self-realization. It wasn't like I was miraculously changed overnight into a cheerful giver. That is where the idea of giving being a spiritual discipline came in. Doing it as a purposeful routine. In my case, it was definitely a "fake it until you make it" or "one step at a time" journey. Following my husband's lead, we began tithing, and giving sacrificially, not just out of abundance (Mark 12: 41-44).
I won't lie. It was painful for me. But soon, I was able to see God's hand in it. I saw how He was continually faithful in providing. Along the way, He was also working on my heart, so that I was no longer giving with a clenched fist, but with an open palm. Each time, we were faced with a challenge, it was a little easier, because I now had the blessing of being able to look back at his past provision and faithfulness (Luke 6:38). That trust has spread over into other areas and challenges that we face, because I now have the past hindsight to see how faithful He is and that we have never walked alone.
For me, the spiritual discipline of giving is about far more than the money that is involved. It is about giving God control of everything in your life (after all, it is His anyway!). It is freeing to lay it at his feet! It is also about putting your trust truly in Him.