Where is My Abundant Life??? ~ blog
Do you find yourself thinking that the abundant life Jesus spoke about was a lie? Well, obviously we all know that Jesus could not lie because He was God in the flesh and never committed any sin. Yet, we know that He did make this statement;
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
I imagine that before we start looking for this abundant life, we ought to know what we are looking for so that if we find it, we will know we have found it. Shame on those who preach a “prosperity gospel” which is so unbiblical it sickens me. You can hear a great 2-minute message from Francis Chan here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sLFgC4cRuI
Having an abundant life is not tied to having abundance in life. It is not comprised of having an abundance of things or even an abundance of money. The love of money is the root of all evil and amassing stuff demands time and energy to find, purchase, maintain, and manage stuff. Eventually you look around at all your stuff and find yourself lonely because stuff only demands attention but cannot give us what we all truly need and that is love and community.
I do believe that we experience an abundant life in the sense that Jesus meant, but we are looking for it in all the wrong places. So, let’s hear from Paul, Peter, and James as each one gives us a glimpse of what the abundant life is.
Paul writes in Ephesians 3:14-19;
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Paul calls it “…being filled with all the fullness of God.” That sounds good to me. Many believers who are enslaved to sexual sin often find themselves on the A-Train – feeling Alone, Ashamed, and Afraid. We feel an emptiness because we have walled ourselves off from everyone and are drowning in our secret sins. We have placed ourselves in solitary confinement because we are often lusting for more lust and with every fall into sexual sin, we dig our hole a little deeper one shovel full at a time.
There is no fullness of life that comes with the feeding of our lusts.
Finding abundance never comes from what we can take in. Sucking on the Straw of More and More never fills us up because our lusts always come back wanting more and more and more. Lust is insatiable and the more one feeds it the more it demands until it has become such a ravenous desire that as we continue to feed it, it is consuming us.
You know this don’t you? I know this because I lived this lesson starting with secret sins every now and again. As the stress of life increased so did my need for a fix, an escape from the pressure with a dose of quick pleasure. Eventually my feelings to escape came more and more frequently, demanding more of my time, more desire for variety, more expense with no end in sight. Because I was entangled in sexual sin that eventually was discovered and everyone in my family was seriously wounded by my unfaithfulness.
There is never an abundance of life found in pursuing the things of this world or the passions of our lusts. The wages of sin are death and I lived for years struggling to get free, but since I was living a lie and feeding my lusts there was no chance to experiencing this abundant life Jesus promised.
Paul doesn’t just tell us that we should be experiencing the fullness of God, but he tells us what he was doing to help that happen in their lives and I think his advice is exactly what we need. The first thing he says it that he was praying that they would be being strengthened by the Holy Spirit in their inner being. We all know the weaknesses we have inside so we should be asking the Spirit to strengthen us in our weaknesses.
Then he goes on and is specific what he is praying for them. We all need to be rooted and grounded in love. And that we might be strengthened by the Spirit to try and comprehend how enormous this love of Christ is for us. It is so massive that we can never fully find the end of it. If we go up, down, east, or west we can never find where it ends, and it is always more then we can experience or even know.
However, it is making the effort to comprehend this incomprehensible love that we can begin to experience being filled with all the fullness of God.
What if instead of filling your time with empty pursuits on social media, live streaming of the never-ending supply of garbage available online, and stuffing more into your lusts you began to try and comprehend God’s love for you…and His love for others.
What if instead of continuing to suck on the Straw of More and More, which has never filled you up you start using your hands to give instead of to take. You bring out your hose and begin pouring into others as God is pouring into you.
When our focus is on taking in, we will never have enough and will always be wanting more.
But when our focus becomes giving away to others from what we have received, we become a conduit where God is filling us with His fullness so that we can give to others what they need.
Fullness is never found in striving to get more.
It only comes from giving away what little we have.
And when we are close to being empty
it is then that God opens His tap
and we receive more of what we are giving away.
And what we have to give away is love.
Tomorrow we will hear from Peter on this.