Hosea 6:1–7:16; Acts 2:42–3:26; Job 15:21–35
Most of the Western world operates in the spirit of individualism. Christianity does not, though we often attempt to adapt it and make it more comfortable. It’s much easier to think about “God’s role in my life” than to reflect on “my role in God’s plan” to help others and share the gospel.
When we attempt to shape our faith to fit our needs, we’re bound to run into Scripture that makes us squirm. Some people perform interpretive backflips to wriggle out of passages such as Acts 2:42–47. Verse 44 says, “And all who believed were in the same place, and had everything in common.” A fear of socialism serves as a convenient excuse to sidestep this verse, but it doesn’t speak to socialism. It speaks to voluntarily joining a movement of people who care more about the betterment of the group than they do about their individual gain.
The truth is that God’s Word should make us uncomfortable because we are the ones who need to conform. None of us wants to accept Acts 2:44 unless the Spirit has worked within us. Acting out our faith means we must be willing to donate what we have to help others: time, material goods, money—whatever God calls us to give. Self-sacrifice is not easy for anyone, but it becomes easier when the Spirit prompts our hearts to see the needs of others as more important than our wants.
Most people in the Western world choose the sin of selfishness over selfless service to others. Do we need to buy a coffee every morning, or could we make a cup at home? Do we need to live in a larger house, or could we downsize? Nearly all of us can find ways to give more by living with less. And we might find the motive we need when the Spirit speaks to us through the discomfort of Scripture.
How can you give what you have to help others? What sacrifice can you make today, this week, or this month? Who do you know who’s in need?
John D. Barry
 Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.