The Abundant Life!

Are we enjoying life like Christ intended?  As Christians shouldn’t we be living an extra-ordinary life style?  One of God’s creations, the caterpillar, crawls along the ground with all kinds of obstacles blocking its way.  After a time, however, this lowly creature is miraculously transformed into a butterfly, which is one of the most graceful and beautiful of all insects. 

As a result of sin and our self-centered nature, we were born ‘caterpillar-like’.  But Christ came to offer us a ‘butterfly-like’ life.  If God can transform a caterpillar into a butterfly, surely, he can transform a sinner into one of His children?  The Bible says God will bring our life into a new dimension.  (“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” II Corinthians 5:17).  As a caterpillar, I face death.  As a butterfly, the Spirit has set me free from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8:2)

Do we feel liberated?   To become a butterfly requires being born again into a new life that we might be forgiven of our sins and set free.  Do we believe that it is possible to completely change and live as a new person?  Do we sense His power, His love and His guidance in our lives? Do we believe God wants only the best for us?  Do we believe that the Holy Spirit is in our lives to guide us and help us make the right decisions? Do we and others see supernatural changing in our life?  The Bible tells us that God wants each of us to live extraordinary lives and has sent the Holy Spirit to help us achieve this.  He tells us we are to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Have we seen evidence of this change? Are we living our life like the caterpillar or the butterfly?  

John 10:10 tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)

Do we believe this verse? Let’s check.  Do we live like a son or daughter of a Father that has unlimited power and wealth?  Do we realize how rich God has made us?  Unfortunately, too often we accept the role of the caterpillar’s life and allow the devil’s lies to deceive us.  He tells us we are unworthy, and we’ll never amount to much.  If we believe him our lives could end in failure, so we must always be alert!  We must trust that God has a better life for us than we are able to make for ourselves and ignore anything that the devil has to say to the contrary. 

Many times Christians are disappointed with God when bad things happen to them. Why do we sometimes get discouraged?  Could it be we focus too much on our problems and not enough on God?  Do we place more trust in our ability to handle a problem rather than trusting in Him?  Do we believe that He’s too busy doing other things to intervene in our difficult circumstances. Or, is our trust in His promises weak and thereby limiting our ability to accept His help?     

There are times when God will allow obstacles or problems to come in our way to get our attention.  As children, many of us relied on our earthly father for guidance and direction. Why is it so hard to rely on our Godly Father? 

Matthew 7:11–If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

God desires to demonstrate His power and love for us by intervening in our lives.  Different from earthly fathers, God works silently and is invisible, so we must watch for Him and seek His intervention.  If we are not expecting God to show up in our lives, we may miss a great opportunity to see His work being done. So, when bad things happen, we must ‘trust’ that our negative circumstances are still working out for our good (Romans 8:28). God permits some things to happen to make us a better person. Or, He might be preparing us for greater responsibilities in the future, as He did with Joseph in Egypt.  

By surrendering to God completely, we show Him that we trust His ability to direct our paths. By studying His Word, we open ourselves up to a greater understanding of His promises.  When we don’t surrender our will and study His Word to guide us and protect us, we leave ourselves open to the deceit of the enemy, and it’s almost impossible to see the good will that God has in store for us. We should believe that God wants us to see His power and therefore do all that we can to increase our faith. It is through listening, expecting, and trusting that we can live the abundant life, and give God the glory! 

Acts 16:5 – 13 tells us that on Paul’s second trip to visit the churches he decided to go and spread the gospel to Asia.  But Paul had a dream that God told him he should preach the good news to the Europeans.  Had Paul continued on to Asia where he was headed, would there have been a Christian United States?  Aren’t we pleased that Paul allowed the Holy Spirit to change his direction?  The Holy Spirit may tell us to change direction or keep going the same way. If we are listening and heeding His guidance, then we will stay on the right path and experience the abundant life!

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