What is Lifegiving?
Lifegving is the act of giving life or vitality to another person.
Where does that life come from? God of course. Then giving life is the act of giving God for He is the “Source and Sustainer of Life“. And we can not give God if we do not have God ourselves.
What is Life?
In order to understand lifegiving, we need to understand the definition of life. Life is “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter.” or “the existence of a human being or animal”.
“Life is contingent upon the continuing, sustaining “breath” of God. When God ceases to breathe, life is no more. Psalm 104:24” –
Bible Study Tools – Life
We do not give life to others in the same literal sense of the word as God does… though as parents we do help to procreate and bring life into this world… God is the one who gives the breath of life and takes it away.
The life we give is the life of one’s soul, encouragement through our words and actions. We should choose to give life in this way every chance that we get. Words of life are frequently addressed throughout God’s Word.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Proverbs 15:1 NLT
Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24 NLT
God’s Intention for Life
God didn’t simply breathe life into Adam, he worked for 5 days to prepare a place of beauty and belonging for Adam. Somewhere Adam could not only exist, but that he could feel alive with the wonder and the awe of God. God created an entire universe full of mystery and beauty, and he created man, in HIS image.
He breathed life from His own lungs into that first man, but God’s plan was not finished at that. He created a woman for Adam. God created us to be relational people and He knew that it was not good for a man to be alone. Then God walked in the garden with them, cultivated relationship with them and gave of Himself.
God’s design for humans wasn’t just to exist but to live a rich life full of relationship.
God’s design wasn’t for humans just to exist, God wanted so much more for us. He didn’t want Adam to simply get by in the world, He wanted Adam to have a rich life, full of love and laughter, relationship with God and man.
Lifegiving Points Us Back to God
Lifegiving points us back to God, it is a small taste that makes us hungry for more of God. It’s a simple act of kindness, a quiet haven to refresh the soul, a word of blessing, a bouquet of flowers. All these are small lifegiving acts that reflect the beauty and the love of our Creator.
When we see the people that God created as His likeness, created in His image, we should be sobered and much more careful how we speak about them. We all are God’s masterpieces and so when we tear each other down or berate ourselves we are ultimately critiquing God’s work!
Who is a Lifegiver?
A lifegiver is one who gives life. God is the ultimate lifegiver and the one who we should look to for an example of what a lifegiver is and does. We are His image bearers and so we carry on the legacy of giving life to others. Through our actions and our words, we can either build up those around us, or we can tear them down.
Giving life is a choice that we must make with every interaction with others. But it is not limited to how we treat others, it includes the way that we treat ourselves.
The way that we treat ourselves speaks loudly to others. Have you ever been around someone who is constantly negative about themselves or other people? This negativity is a huge emotional drain to be around and you go away feeling insecure, exhausted and deflated.
The Exception to the Rule
There is a difference, between human imperfection, irritating quirks and true sin that endangers our soul. Although we were created in the likeness of God, when Adam and Eve chose sin they opened the human race up to a world that was separated from God.
When we are living in sin, this is not a reflection of God and it is not lifegiving to excuse, tolerate or overlook sin. Overlooking sin is not an act of love. When we allow others to live in sin unaddressed, we are allowing them to walk straight to hell.
The way that we address this sin though can either condemn or call them higher. That is where lifegiving comes in to play. It is imperative to lovingly point out the sin and let God do the convicting and changing. We are not responsible to make others good and we do not answer for their sins. Each man is accountable to God for his own actions.
8 Characteristics of a Lifegiver
What characteristics does a Lifegiver have?
A Lifegiver’s actions reflect God and His great love for mankind. Love, graciousness, kindness, positivity, encouraging, joyful, humble, present, hopeful, merciful, gracious. The list goes on.
A lifegiver does not manipulate or force others into becoming who they want them to be, rather encourages and challenges them towards what God wants them to be. They set an example to follow and patiently give refreshment to those who need it. The life giver possesses a certain contagious hope and joy that rubs off on those around them. When you come away from time spent with one you feel uplifted and hopeful.
A Lifegiver is Secure in God
A lifegiver does not go into relationships in neediness. They do not befriend someone to fulfill their own selfish needs or desires for status. A lifegiver is secure in the life that they receive from God. They are full of God and realize that He is the only one who can fulfill their needs for relational intimacy, love and acceptance. Relationships with humans are necessary as well but they should not be drawn on to fulfill emotional needs that only God can truly satisfy. It will only lead to disappointment and emotional drain on those around you.
A Lifegiver is Gracious
Grace is the dimension of divine activity that enables God to confront human indifference and rebellion with an inexhaustible capacity to forgive and to bless.
The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible: Definition of Grace
Grace boils down to unmerited favor. A gift that we do not deserve.
I remember several times as a child having a meltdown over something that I wanted but couldn’t have. There was a time or two when I was given whatever it was even though I clearly did not deserve it. I hardly remember anything so humbling as those moments when I was given grace despite my terrible behavior.
The human race tainted a perfect creation with sin and instead of eternal damnation that we deserved, our Creator became sin and sacrificed Himself so that we could be made righteous in God’s eyes.
That is what God’s grace is; undeserved pardon. We are so undeserving of the salvation that we are given through Christ’s death. In light of the grace that we receive from God, how can we not grant grace to those around us?
A Lifegiver is Encouraging
I love the definition of “encourage” – giving someone confidence. The word originated from the French word encourage or “in” + “courage” as Josh Patrick says to encourage another is to “put courage inside of them”.
When we encourage others, we refresh and inspire them, giving them hope and courage to continue on. Encouragement is one of the most important things that we can do for others. A simple blessing or well timed compliment can go a long ways in encouraging someone who is struggling. Reigniting their joy in the Lord.
A Lifegiver is Hopeful
Heaven is yet to come and that is the most hopeful thing of all.
A lifegiver finds strength and hope in the Lord. They see good coming. And even when their hopes are disappointed here on earth, they know that God has their best interest in mind. They want to share this hope with others and they live in such a way of expectancy for what is yet to come. Heaven is still to come and that is most hopeful thing of all. Lifegivers share this hope with others in a compassionate way so they too can be filled with hope for the future.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A Lifegiver is Joyful
Joy may be mistaken for happiness but they are not the same. While happiness is based on our circumstances, joy is the hope that we find in Christ.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9
Our joy is found in the Lord, and we are told again and again to rejoice in every circumstance, good and bad.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Dear Brothers and Sisters, when trials come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
This is not realistic for us in our own strength, but with the supernatural joy that the Lord gives us, we can rejoice continuously for we are filled with “an inexpressible and glorious joy…the salvation of [our] souls!”
For more on joy, check out my devotional journal The Joy Study here.
A Lifegiver is Humble
They do not have to draw attention to themselves or their successes, instead, they elevate others. Serving and bringing value to the people that God has brought into their life. A lifegiver is not too selfish or prideful to be real about life, about themselves and about God. They admit their faults and recognize that without God, they are nothing.
A Lifegiver is Present
The lifegiver values people and relationships. One of the ways that they show this to others is by giving the gift of being present. A lifegiver is not constantly checking their phone, or cutting you off mid sentence to answer another phone call. They are willing to be in the moment, to listen, to care, to focus on you and cultivate relationship with you.
This is one of the hardest aspects of giving life for me. It is too easy to tune out to relationships and people and to tune into technology.
Technology is instant, it’s constantly changing and new, every question or desire we have right at our fingertips. It’s all about instant gratification and pleasure of the senses, it is self-indulging, catering to us and our need for more — more knowledge, more answers, more entertainment…
Being present is denying our fleshly desire to be entertained and pleasured and meeting another person’s needs to be heard and validated.
To give life is to choose self-denial.
A Lifegiver is Alive
The most noteworthy aspect of a Lifegiver is that they themselves are ALIVE! Alive with wonder, alive with love, alive with the beauty of their Creator and the world He has created. They are inspired by a God of Wonder and they instill that wonder and life in those around them.
Think of Maria from The Sound of Music. Nothing would stop her.
She seems shockingly audacious to take such liberties and defy authority like Captain Von Trapp. But she is ALIVE and she brings life back to a family who had lost theirs, through her persistent love and grace and good humor with the children. She was resilient and flexible, able to make something good out of almost anything bad, including ugly curtains!
Maria was not afraid to be who she was created to be, even if society didn’t think she was enough… or maybe that she was too much?
How do We Give Life?
Lifegiving in theory is great, lifegiving in action is ideal. So how do we give life to others? We discussed briefly different characteristics of a lifegiver, living these out in our daily interactions with others gives life.
5 Love Languages
You are probably familiar with The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, if not you can find out more here. Gary Chapman has categorized how people give and receive love into five types,
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
Each of us has a way that we show our love, often we show our love in different ways depending on the relationship. The same is true for how we love. We can and should give and receive love in all 5 ways but some are more significant to us than others. Your love language and that of those close to you may change depending on present circumstances and age. Usually there is a core love language that really speaks to you throughout the course of your life.
When we discover what other’s love languages are we can tune in on that and make an effort to show them love in the way that they can best receive it. For example, if your spouse’s love language is words of affirmation and you never affirm them, they will feel a lack of love from you. In the same way, if you use your words to regularly affirm your spouse they will feel encouraged and important to you.
Loving others in a way that they can best receive it is a key way to give life.
The words we speak have power to speak life over others.
“A person’s words can be life-giving water; Words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” -Proverbs 18:4 NLT
When we use our words wisely to edify others, they are a blessing. But when we use our words as weapons of destruction, we are allowing satan to work through us. We will give account for the words we speak frivolously in eternity (Matthew 12:36). We should speak words of truth, encouragement and blessing over others and about others.
We should strive to speak words that are
If you would like more help and inspiration to speak life to those around you, download a copy of my FREE ebook here.
A Lifegiving Home
Another area that we can use to give life to others is through a lifegiving home atmosphere.
Creating an atmosphere of life, a peaceful and quiet haven from the world is a goal to be worked towards. We can give life with our homes by creating a welcoming and loving environment, through aspects such as;
- Noise and Music
As well as our attitude and hospitality towards those in our community and church.
Who Do We Give Life To?
We should be giving life to anyone who we come into contact with. Setting an example of Christ for others to follow.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
When Christ’s love is in our hearts, we can share that love with others. Remember the definition of grace. We don’t give life only to those who deserve it, we give life in every situation to every person that we interact with. That might look like any of the following;
- Your children
- Your Spouse
- Family members
- Your enemies – wait what? Yep. Luke 6:35 says “For He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
Why Is it So Important to Give Life?
It Makes Us Better and it Pleases God
“Give and it will be given to you.” When we give life to others, we recieve life. Luke 6:38 may be speaking in a literal, physical sense of giving. But the same is true for our emotional giving, when we give life to others, we are encouraged as well.
Proverbs 11:17 – Those who are kind benefit themselves but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.
Kindness makes us feel good about ourselves and it brings us closer to God. God is happy when we give life and in return, He fills us with His life.
Hebrews 13:16 – And don’t forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
It Cultivates Others Potential
The lifegiving person sees your heart! They overlook every imperfection on the outside to gently touch your soul and reignite the dying embers of a heart that longs for beauty, adventure and LIFE! When we give life, we build others and encourage them towards their potential in Christ.
When We Tear Down We Are Doing Satan’s Work
“ …the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” – James 3:5-6 NLT
Oof. It is set on fire by hell itself. That is a verse to take to heart. When we use our words to hurt, we are allowing Satan to accomplish his agenda to divide and tear relationships and homes apart. We are allowing ourselves to entertain sin by using our words in this way.
Where Does the Lifegiver Find Life?
If we constantly are giving life, won’t we run out? Yes, if we are not setting boundaries and finding our refill of life from God we will run out of life to give. Remember “You can’t pour from an empty teapot”, the same goes for the life we give to others. If we are empty and in need of life ourselves, it is much more difficult to give life to others.
But, where do we find life when we run out?
The Ultimate Lifegiver
Lifegiving is all about reflecting God in all of His splendor and beauty to those around us. He is always ready to give us a refill. A lifegiver finds their everlasting life in Jesus Christ, His love and the freedom of the cross. Because of this life they have hope when life is hard, they have joy in the Lord and they have new life to give to others! If we do not draw on God to fill us up, the life that other humans give to us will not stick. If we are not secure in our hope of heaven, in our identity in Christ, nothing that is said or done will really make a lasting difference. We will struggle to impact others when we lack confidence in God.
Lifegiving People – Mentors, Friendships, etc
That being said, we do need people in our lives. Remember we were created to be relational. God created Adam and then said that it was not good for him to be alone. God seeks relationship with us and pursues our hearts. Relationship is an important part of who we were created to be. Lifegiving relationships are vital for a lifegiver.
Surround yourself with people who speak truth and life to you, who encourage you and inspire you. People who consistently point you back to God.
Taking care of your body, mind and soul is another important part of being able to stay fueled in order to give to others. If we are worn out, lacking in sleep and disheveled, not only does it wear us out physically and emotionally, but it affects how other people view us.
Make time for God, make time to cultivate that relationship, in quiet, in moments of prayer and Bible Study. Read good books and cultivate your mind. Challenge your thoughts and grow in your intellect. Take time to show yourself and others, that you are important.
Tired, Messy Mom Does not Equal Good Mom
The messy tired mom that society tells us we have to be in order to be a good mom is a scam! Neglecting our own spiritual and emotional health ‘for our children’ does not make us a good mom. A ‘good’ mom is willing to deny her own needs to serve a need of another true. But she also is willing to take the time to care for her own body and soul.
What good are we to our children if we can’t even care for ourselves? Creating boundaries around our time and our bodies, and caring for ourselves sets an example of respect for our children.
Setting an Example
Showing children that we are not worthy of being cared for, may convey the message that they should treat themselves in the same manner, neglecting their own needs and constantly putting others needs over there own. Every life needs balance and the area of self care is not an exception! Take care of yourself, do things that make you ALIVE so that you can give life to your family and other people that you come into contact with.
How to Weed Out Toxicity/Stop the Leaks So That We Can Maximize Our Lifegiving
Why We Should Be Careful Of Who We Spend Time With
I think it especially important for a mother to be careful of her time. There are many time sucking people and activities demanding more of us than we want to give. This is another place where it is so important to set boundaries. To learn to say “no” graciously.
Our Homes Are A Ministry To Protect
Our spouse, our children and our home is a ministry in itself, and they should be the first priority in our lives after God. If we are giving all of our time away to other people and other causes, our children and our homes will suffer.
Jealously guard the time that you have to be with your children and spouse, to meet their needs and pour life and love into them. Think how many more people you can impact by impacting your children. Instead of just 10 people that you could reach personally, you can reach those 10 plus your children. Your children can reach 10 and it’s a ripple effect passing on and on.
Don’t feel guilty to say no to others to protect your family and the time and attention that they need from you.
We Become Like Those we Spend Time With
We tend to become like the people that we spend time with. So spend time with people who you want to become like. People that are willing to grow and change.
For those who are negative, life sucking or unwilling to change, put up strong healthy boundaries around any time that you spend with them. Things like, coffee where you are free to leave at any time. A quick conversation after church. Keep these conversations light but caring, don’t feed into their negativity or self pity. Try to encourage and bless them. Always try to draw them up rather than stoop to their level.
Creating boundaries can seem unkind or confusing. You might wonder how to set and enforce boundaries, and how to know what boundaries to set? Every life has boundaries. We have social, emotional, and physical boundaries. Boundaries help to keep people safe, when we set boundaries, people know what to expect from us and we don’t wear ourselves thin by giving everything.
Every healthy relationship will have boundaries of some sort, your boundaries will be different with each relationship. Something to keep in mind when setting boundaries and enforcing them is that boundaries aren’t telling others what they can do, but what you will do if treated a certain way.
Boundaries say “I’m not going to be alone with you.” “We can meet in public but not in my home.” “If you speak to me in that way, I will go into another room until you are able to speak to me with respect.”
Relationships to Cut Out
Sometimes it comes down to having to walk away from a relationship. What kind of relationships should you cut off?
- Abusive relationships
- People who refuse to accept Your boundaries
- People who will not respect your boundaires
- People who are unwilling to grow
- Bitter and negative people
Any relationship that is being a drain on your emotional health should be reanalyzed and possibly ended. Friendship and relationship are things earned not owed to someone and when this is the attitude it is no longer a beneficial and healthy relationship.
When you are used as a crutch or doormat for someone else to feel good or get where they want, that is a huge red flag. If you do help someone you should be helping them to help themselves so they are not in a long term cycle of dependency or codependency. If you are simply enabling someone in their unhealthy using habits, emotional, physical or material, you need to walk away for your sake and for theirs!
If you are simply enabling someone in their unhealthy using habits, emotional, physical or material, you need to walk away for your sake and for theirs!
How to End a Relationship With a Toxic Person
How do you gracefully end a relationship with someone toxic?
Ending any relationship can be complicated and painful. But absolutely necessary when it comes to people who are dragging you down and draining the life out of you or when you are doing them more harm than good by enabling them.
You can let them know that you need time and distance to work on yourself and then take the time you need. If this is sufficient to get the relationship on a healthier track with renewed boundaries, great, if not, it’s time to walk away.
Don’t say unkind things, don’t place blame, just walk away. If you choose to give them an explanation, don’t blame and accuse, this will just lower you to their level and cause hurt and drama. “I am not up to this relationship.” Plain and simple. And then quit reaching out, quit answering calls, create distance. Polite but uninviting. This could work to naturally create distance between you if you are not wanting to cut them out altogether, to simply stop initiating and to answer calls and texts less frequently.
Don’t Take the Blame
Regardless of how it ends, remember you do not owe them relationship. It is earned. It is okay to leave toxic people behind and you should not feel guilty for having to cut them off. We are advised over and over in Proverbs to be careful of the company we keep, because negative people will turn others negative, the things we hear over and over eventually take root in our own hearts and minds. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can or should fix another person. We are created with free will and even God does not always stop a person from destroying themselves when they are bent on it. We are not above God.
A lifegiver is not afraid to be themselves, unapologetically! Because who God created them to be is ENOUGH! God does not create us to be EXTRA or lacking. He created each of us for a unique and wonderfully exciting purpose, to be a working part of this grand adventure of life. An adventure only rivaled by the epilogue.
Do You Want Support?
It is hard to give life when you yourself are not alive. Do you long for someone to breathe life into you? If you need a friend who is there for you, someone who will listen, I’d love to hear from you. I would love to hear your story, your dreams, to be your friend and encourage you towards your goals. Drop a comment or contact me through my about page.
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