If there were ever a subject taught more falsely by peddlers of Christ than the title of todayâ€™s devotional, then Iâ€™ve yet to see it. The â€œname it and claim itâ€ prosperity preachers found on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and similar stations LUUVVV to preach on this subject.
Well the aletheia truth is that Jesus does want us to live an abundant life, but letâ€™s be sure we understand the abundance. This abundance comes from the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. Read His words carefully:
â€œThen Jesus said to them again, â€˜Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.â€™â€ (John 10:7-10)
What was Jesusâ€™ mission here on earth? Jesus revealed this after His triumphal entry:
â€œNow My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? â€˜Father, save Me from this hourâ€™? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.â€ (John 12:27-28)
Most would say Jesusâ€™ mission was to come to die for our sins so we could have everlasting life. No, thatâ€™s the â€œhowâ€ of His mission. The â€œwhatâ€ is found above in verse 28; Jesus came to glorify His Father. Salvation is not for our benefit; it is for Godâ€™s glory. We most certainly benefit from salvation, but it is for Godâ€™s glory.
We bring glory to God when we are born again. We are brought back from spiritual death. Jesus demonstrated this by bringing Lazarus back from the dead. Notice closely again His conversation with Lazarusâ€™ sister Martha:
â€œJesus said to her, â€˜I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.â€™â€ (John 11:25)
The Abundant Life is Jesus Christ.
Ah but Bro Dave, I am a devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and I can tell you I am not living in abundance. In fact Iâ€™m barely getting by. I know many of you are and I pray for your material needs, but Iâ€™m speaking of a different abundance:
â€œBut this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.â€ (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
Let me ask each of you a very personal question about your walk with Christ. How strong is your prayer life? On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you grade it, with 1 being not at all, to 10 being an abundant prayer life? If you grade it low, then let me ask you another question. On a scale of 1 to 10 (same scale), how would you grade your Bible study discipline?
A weak prayer life can almost always be directly linked to a weak Bible study discipline. Why? Because â€œhe who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.â€ If you are unwilling or only give â€œgrudgingly or of necessityâ€ of your time, why would God bless that? Is that being a cheerful giver? Or have you never thought of your time as something you give to the Lord?
We are talking about spiritual abundance this week but far too many of us are clueless to its meaning. It will always be a mystery to us if we rely on our own understanding. This is revealed to us through the grace of God:
â€œFor this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and heightâ€”to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.â€ (Ephesians 3:14-21)
My dear friend, if you are seeking to live life more abundantly, to be abundantly satisfied, you will never do so in your own strength. You must first give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. But even more so, after you have become a child of God through Christ, you must be obedient to the call on your life.
So many Christians say they donâ€™t know the will of God for there lives. Poppycock! (I always wanted to use that word)
God wants you to read your Bibles. God wants you to obey His Word. God wants you to spend time with Him in prayer and meditation. God wants you to love Him â€œwith all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strengthâ€ (Mark 12:30). And God wants you to â€œlove your neighbor as yourselfâ€ (Mark 12:31).
There, Iâ€™ve given you five things God wills for your life. Do those and see if God does not reveal more to you. When we go to the Lord asking for life more abundantly all the while disobeying His obvious will for us, we are like children asking for more privileges all the while being disobedient to our parents. If you as a parent give that child more privileges, that makes you a bad parent. That doesnâ€™t make the child bad, the child is a child. If God were to give you more spiritual blessing and privilege all the while youâ€™re disobeying Him right now, well…and this is not blasphemous…that would make Him a bad parent.
But He is our Heavenly Father and He will not give you life more abundantly if youâ€™re squandering what He has already given you. Are you? Heâ€™s given you His Word. What are you doing with it? Heâ€™s torn the veil wide open given you direct access to Him through Jesus Christ? Are you coming to Him? Heâ€™s given you His Commandments. Are you obeying them? Are you loving Him and your neighbors as He has commanded?
Beloved, there are many mysteries of God unknown to us, but His will for our lives is not one of them.
May we seek to do His will. And the wonderful news is that we do not have to do that in our own power. He gives us abundant grace to do so.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright Â© 2012 David Jeffers