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"One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Prov. 11:24-25).

As I look over the broad spectrum of everyone I know - my family, my friends, and my large church family - I see in the majority of their lives stresses, pressures, and challenging circumstances facing them.

These challenges range from financial situations, to relational problems, to infirmities and more. Not everyone faces these kinds of stresses, but the majority of people I know do!

Whenever we face challenges such as these in our lives, we face pressure. Pressure is a good word for the kinds of challenges we are talking about. That's what it feels like - like some outside force pressing down on us.

You know what it's like when you squeeze a toothpaste tube. Toothpaste comes out. You know what happens when you crack a nut with a nutcracker? It cracks and the nut comes out. When pressure is put on us, what is inside of us comes out. What comes out of us when we are under pressure is what is inside of us.

That may be good or bad news!

Reacting in Immaturity
Early on in my marriage with Renee, immaturity is what was in us. When pressure came, immaturity is what came out. We never knew how to respond correctly to pressure. We would only react.

We both reacted in different ways but none of them were good. If you were watching us at times like that you would have easily thought, "they sure don't love each other." That couldn't have been further from the truth. We loved each other very much. So why didn't it seem like it or why didn't we act like it? It had to do with what was in us.

When I was squeezed back then, all of the "old man" that had not yet been transformed would ooze out of me. The same with Renee. What came out of us was a horrible combination - love and a whole lot of "old man" that didn't work well together. What do I mean by "old man"?

We can get a better idea reading in Ephesians:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old man, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new man, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully.…"
(Eph. 4:22-25)
It wasn't that Renee and I didn't love each other. We just hadn't let Jesus be formed in us enough to get rid of the old way of communicating - through our impulsive emotional responses.

Did that work against us? Of course it did. What kept us together? Recognizing that we did love each other and that we needed God's help in communicating better. We wanted our marriage not only to succeed, but also to be a blessed marriage of God.

You may be thinking how does this verse, "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed," tie into all this?

This verse says that when one man's finances get tight, his tendency is to pull back and preserve what he has so he doesn't run out. It says this somehow doesn't always work out and he ends up with little or nothing. Then it talks about the man who gives God's way when finances get tight. He gives more liberally and somehow miraculously ends up with more. It says he and those he gives to end up refreshed.

Communicating in a New Way
The same thing can happen with fighting breaks out between two people. When communication is going lousy and a couple is verbally beating each other up, each will pull back and withdraw. Each person wants to fight for his or her position of being right. Neither wants to apologize and work toward forgiveness.

If you want to learn God's supernatural way of turning things around, then apply today's verse in communication. Instead of withdrawing and defending the position of being right, change direction and give love more liberally.

I knew as the head of my house, I had to get us out of this mess no matter whose fault it was or we would be heading toward disaster. I did what today's verse said, instead of fighting to win the fight or argument, I gave love more liberally.

I asked Renee to forgive me and worked toward reconciliation. Even if she didn't want to forgive right away, I just kept telling her I was sorry and how wonderful she was; I threw out the seeds of love liberally.

"Honey, you were right, I was wrong." "I love you so much, all I want to do is get this right between us and love you more." I would just keep on going down that road.

Love is hard to resist and pretty soon she'd soften. Then as today's verse says, we'd both be refreshed. No one said it's easy, but hard work and getting it right is better than horrible fighting and ending up in broken relationship!

Copyright © www.FreshManna.org
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tim Burt
Web site: Todays Fresh Manna
 
Pastor Tim became a part of the leadership team at Living Word Christian Center in 1984 and served as Associate Pastor from 1989 to 2017. He and His wife Renee, also a Pastor at Living Word, resigned, feeling impressed by God to pursue the tremendous growth of their ministry "Fresh Manna," as well as teaching conferences and seminars, and increasing their involvement on the mission field through Tim & Renee Burt Ministries.
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