Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said that the thief only comes to steal, kill or destroy. See, there’s a thief in life who wants to steal, kill and destroy you on every level. It’s sad, but most people in our society have been and are still being unwitting victims of the thief.
He’s plundering our society on all fronts. After commenting on the thief and his deeds, Jesus announced that HE, on the other hand, came to give us more living in our lives. The thief comes to take ALL that’s good away from us and Jesus came to give it back to us and then some.
Abundant life. What’s it about? Abundant life ISN’T about what you get. It isn’t money in the bank, social standing, fancy cars and houses.
There’s nothing wrong with these things, but they don’t equal abundant life. No, abundant life is what about you become as an individual.
Questions not to ask when searching for a church home are, “what programs does this church have?” or “Who’s the pastor?” The right question to ask is, “What will my family and I become at this church?” or “What are the other people who go to that church becoming?” Are they becoming sweeter in their temperaments? Kinder? More like Jesus? Are they growing closer to their Master in their personal devotional lives? Are they getting stronger in their abilities to resist temptation? Are they growing positive and fuller of faith? If so, then that could be a great church to BECOME a person of greater value in.
See, people can BELIEVE some of the right things and churches can TEACH some of the right things but the people aren’t necessarily BECOMING more and more like Jesus. What they become is more and more angry, cynical, hard, unkind, judgmental and hypocritical. That isn’t the kind of place you want to expose yourself and your family to, is it? It isn’t what you will get in a particular church but instead, it’s what you’ll become.
It isn’t what you KNOW that makes you effective, it’s what you BECOME. It isn’t what a person OWNS that makes him or her valuable – it’s what he or she BECOMES that gives them value. The “What are you becoming” issues is the primary one that Jesus dealt with in His ministry. What you are at this moment is a result of primarily where you’ve been. Jesus will accept you right now no matter WHAT you’ve let yourself become. Then, He begins to work in your life to help you become the kind of person that God had in mind when He first created you.
Jesus spent His time on earth stirring peoples’ hearts and spirits with God’s dreams, plans and ideas. He spoke in a way that they were stirred by His words. They said, “No man ever spoke like THIS man!” If you want to receive abundant life in Jesus, learn to let your heart be stirred by His words. Get your Bible out each day and allow His words to inspire you, soothe you and fill your spirit with inspired ideas. Even though the Bible was written thousands of years ago, it can help you achieve your highest dreams. It is chocked full of the basic ideas and principles for living an effective, joy-filled and satisfying life.
As you ask His guidance and feed on His Word, you’ll begin to experience just how His dynamic words can make a real difference in your life right away. Through your time in the Word, you’ll grasp the fundamentals of living successfully, how to be happy, how to discover your mission and purpose in life and how to have a thriving relationship with your Creator.
What you’ll get in your Bible will make a difference in how your life works out. The Bible is a book that’s full of ideas, business ideas, good health ideas, personal relationship ideas, financial freedom ideas, marriage ideas, child raising ideas, and “how to live a fulfilling life” ideas. We all need good ideas. Just like dialing a phone number, one phone call can change your life. It’s like dialing a phone number, you’ve entered the area code then you dial the next six digits. Then you realize that your call still isn’t going through. You need to dial 3 or 4 more numbers. All you need is just ONE more and your call will go through. All you need is just one more idea. Reading your Bible with the Guidance of the Holy Spirit can be the very thing that will give you the last number you need – the last piece of the puzzle. Maybe just ONE more teaching here at the Worship Center will have the idea you need.
When the idea comes, inspiration arrives, faith comes and you dial the last number and you get through! Not every Believer experiences abundant life. Some Believers lead hum drum, ho-hum lives while others live frustrating and upsetting lives. It’s available to all but some don’t ever get in on it. Some are too busy and some say it sounds too hard. Others may say that it takes too much time. Ultimately there are a bunch of different excuses why some are inspired to take advantage of what’s offered and some don’t. Some believers do and some don’t. How come some do and some don’t? I don’t know. But it happened when Jesus preached. His preaching was simple, straightforward and sincere. But, HE GOT A VARIETY OF RESPONSES. Some marveled, some rejoiced, some got angry and some just didn’t know what to think. Some just mocked and made fun of Him while others believed. The one’s who believed and acted on His magnificent words became sons and daughters of God.
Here are some requirements for an abundant life.
Requirement (1) – Have an attitude of gratitude. That’s key to abundant living. Being grateful for what God has already blessed you with shouldn’t be too difficult. Happiness and joy come when we’re grateful. Happiness is the joy of discovering what He’s done and the joy of knowing everything is going to work out just the way it should. When we’re thankful it does this. It opens our eyes to the good things, positive things and opens our spirits to receive more of what God wants to pour into our lives. The thing that blocks God moving and blessing our lives is bitterness, complaining, murmuring and criticism. Being bitter about the past and cynical about the future keeps us from living abundantly and blocks our faith and the Spirit of God.
Requirement (2) – A listening heart. Some people spend their lives in a quest for exotic answers and techniques. Don’t waste your time. A fulfilling walk with God is something very simple and basic. It doesn’t come through techniques but instead, it’s the result of a consistent desire to know Him better and taking the time to DO something about it.
Requirement (3) – Be a student of Jesus Christ and study to show thyself approved unto God. Take good notes and record on your cell phone and use it in your daily life.
Requirement (4) – Discipline. This is the root of being a disciple and a disciplined one. Discipline is the bridge between being a “wannabe” and actually becoming. Remember, God knows what price to put on His valuables. All His good things are on the top shelves. On the bottom shelves are the things that bring shame and disappointment. Being a disciplined follower of Jesus Christ is available to everyone and like they say, it isn’t “If I could, I would.” “If I will, I can!” It’s matter of starting and continuing.
Don’t trick yourself by making promises. Only promise what you’re really willing to carry out. It’s too easy to delude ourselves with our words and promises. We think we’re making changes, but our daily actions are taking us in just the opposite direction of where we want to go! Why go in the opposite directions of your dreams?
The time to become a genuine disciple of Jesus is now. It comes by desire and wise planning. If you need to be more holy maybe start a Holiness Plan. If you need a better prayer life, start a “Prayer Plan.” It doesn’t take much more than a desire to plan. Anyone can do it whoever wants to.
The start of an abundant life is today. It’s exciting. Today is the day to put that new idea into action. Read your Bible. Spend time with God.
Give to the work of God. Start cleaning out space for your study and prayer time today. Start eating well and make that phone call. Tell God your time of waiting is over and your habit of wishing is past. Ask Him to let faith and action take charge! It’s a new day in your new life. What have you got to lose? Only the heartache, frustration, despair, fear, guilt and condemnation of the past and at some point, people will have to learn and work to forgive and positively move forward in their life.