The recycling we see in nature has a spiritual counterpart.


In a previous article, Rivers of Living Water, we looked at our need to allow the Spirit within us to flow through us torivers of living water become a blessing to others. This article reveals what that looks like in real life. I’d like to do that by examining what I call “spiritual recycling.”

It Returns to God

This is a principle seen throughout Scripture whereby whatever God gives to us ultimately makes its way back to Him. For example, Psalm 67:7 says that God blesses us that all the ends of the earth may fear Him. The blessings we receive aren’t for us to hoard. They are to be passed on so that the world may come to know and fear God. In context, God blessed Israel so that the nations could experience God’s goodness and ultimately, His salvation. The same principle applies to us as believers today. We pass God’s blessings on to others. When they thank God and give Him glory, the gift returns to Him.

joy FREE

It Applies to Joy

We see the same principle applied to joy in Phil. 2:17-18. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. Paul’s point is that the joy that comes through obedience is to be shared with others, not hoarded for our personal benefit. It fits with his exhortation not to merely look out for our own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. When they share our joy, their praise rises to God and the cycle is completed.

John applies the principle to love as he repeatedly commands his readers (1 John) to love one another by “recycling” the love they have received from God to others. That kind of love will always find its way back to God. It’s the same principle we see in the cycles of nature. The rain that falls from heaven to water the earth ultimately returns as it evaporates. The point is that whatever comes from God is meant to accomplish its purpose and return to Him.


So what does this mean where the rubber meets the road? How should this knowledge change the way we live? WhileGreen logo our circumstances are all different, we all can work on developing a different mindset whenever we are blessed. Since we now know that God blesses us so that others can be blessed, we should ask God to develop in us a desire to pass it on. Let’s ask God to show us how He wants to use this blessing so that it can return to Him having accomplished His purpose.

Only God

This is one of those things that only God can do, and He will do whatever is necessary to develop this mindset in us. It’s part of learning to see the world through His eyes instead of our own. I’m sure He is more than willing to honor this request. It sure seems like “kingdom living” to me. Maybe this will help us to realize that it all belongs to God anyway and we are only His stewards, and as such, our responsibility is to look after our Master’s interests. He has promised to meet all our genuine needs, but we must first focus on His kingdom by being dedicated to “spiritual recycling.”

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River image by Art4TheGlryOfGod Photography by Sharon
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