Monday, January 21, 2013

The Abundant and Overflowing Life

Romans 6:19-22

19 Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness, leading to holiness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

We are all slaves to something (or someone).  None of us is living our own life.  Whatever controls us and gives us purpose is our master.  For some of us, it is trying to fit in, to be popular.  For others, it might be materialism, trying to gain as many and as beautiful possessions as possible, things that provide a certain status for us or allow us to be "one step" above everyone else.  For others, we try to keep up appearances; we are slaves to a certain body image that we try to maintain at all cost; some people are slaves to their jobs; some are slaves to substances and those substances control their every move and thought.  Satan loves for us to believe the lie that a life of sin is so much more fun and rewarding than living a life of righteousness.  I believed the lie for a long time.  I thought everything I did for sin, every choice I made to pursue sin was worth it, until Jesus shook my world.  He showed me that true life is living for Him.  If we are living for anyone or anything else, we are just existing, wasting time, just breathing day by day, trying to survive until the next one, just trying to get through the next 24 hours; or worse, we are chasing a dream that will one day be taken away from us.  We focus our efforts on getting the highest paying job, having the best looking body, the biggest house, the nice car, or whatever obsession/idol it is because we live under Satan's lie that those things will sustain us; we believe that they will fulfill us or grant us the security we desire.  What a miserable way to live!  Living in bondage under the control of something that will not last, something or someone other than Jesus, Who offers us abundant, free, and eternal life is not the way God intends for us to live.  It is not what He wants for us.  In Jeremiah, God says that He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us, and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  How many Christ followers are living a life that claims we believe that?  If He knows the plans He has for us and those plans will prosper us and not harm us and they will give us hope and a future, why are we trying to do things on our own?  Is it because we think we know better than God? Why are we trying to live apart from Him?  We run away from Him and then we get angry with God when we fall on our faces.  He does not want us to run from Him, but trust in Him, that His plans are good and right and will bring Him the glory He deserves.  Why are we trying to drive the car?  We are meant to be the passengers while Jesus leads us where He wants us to go and drops us off to "do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).

God describes us, His people, as "God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).  God created us.  He created every inch of us, every facet, every nuance, quirk, and characteristic.  He knows us better and more intimately than anyone on this earth, yet we try to chase everything and everyone other than Jesus.  David, in Psalm 139, perfectly describes our Savior's knowledge of us.  He says, "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (v. 1-3, 13-14).  The Lover of our souls knows us so intimately and created us so deliberately and specifically, and He loves us!  He takes delight in us!  He made us perfectly to do the works He planned for us in advance to do.  He has equipped us to do whatever it is He is leading us to do, however He is leading us to act.  Then why don't we trust Him?  Why do we think our ways are better or that He doesn't know what He is doing?  How many times do we think, Lord, you can't be asking me to do that?  Or, Lord, You know I am not made for that; I know You are asking me to do this for You, but I think You have the wrong person.  I am too young, too poor, I can't speak well, I don't know enough, I don't have the means to accomplish the goal You are asking me to accomplish.  God does not ask us to do something for which He has not equipped us.  If He asks us to step out on faith, accomplish a certain task, or boldly act on something He is calling us to do, then we need to step.  We need to trust Him Who knows us so intimately and Who made us to do whatever it is He is asking us to do.  We cannot grow in righteousness and faith if we don't trust Him or try to live life on our terms, the way we want to.  When we disobey God's calling, whether by running away or ignoring it and choosing to do nothing, we miss out on the abundant life God has for us.  He wants to bless us; He wants to use us, but we have to trust Him, trust that His ways are right and good, and step out on faith. John 10:10 tells us that "the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.  I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full."  We can and will only experience abundant life through Jesus Christ, when we surrender to our choices and desires and allow Him to lead us.

So, what is God asking you to do?  How is God asking you to move or act?  Will you have the faith that He is capable of accomplishing the task through you?  Let Him use you--He longs to pour out blessings on you!

1 comment:

  1. I'm always asking Him to reveal to me...daily!!!Thanks For the reminder and challenge we all need to be asking ourselves!!! "Have thine own way Lord"