Tuesday, April 30

What is the Abundant Life...really?


Christ wants to build Himself IN you;
All you have to do is w-a-n-t Him, too!  

          Have you ever wondered about God's desire to fulfill your heart's deepest desires? If so, then you are not alone. I believe that most professing Christians struggle with believing that God loves them enough to bring to pass the dreams that they hold so dear. The reason is simple: many who claim to personally know God, really don't! While they may profess otherwise, they view Him in their hearts as small, ineffective, and distant. The bottom line is this: living the abundant life is the fruit of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, period. Jesus said it this way, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
         
What do you want most? What do you seek most? What do you want from God? What do you want God to do for you? Whatever those things may be and however much you may desire them, you should be seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

         
Now, let us turn those questions around -- what is God seeking? What does He want? Consider this passage: "For the eyes of The LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." (II Chronicles 16:9)

         
God is seeking those whose heart is perfect towards Him. Let's make that more personal -- God is seeking you, to show Himself strong to you. If you doubt the greatness and power of God, He is waiting, ready and wants to show Himself strong in your behalf. All we have to do is have a heart that is perfect toward Him.  That is, we need to have a heart that, first and foremost, seeks the King of our domain, God -before anything else- and His righteousness. We cannot do this, however, if we do not trust God.

         
The Scripture commands us: "ascribe ye greatness unto our God." (Deuteronomy 32:3) That is, in faith we must view God to be great. We do not have to imagine Him to be that, it is simply what He already is. Consider the following scriptures, which describe the greatness and power of God:

         
"The LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet." 
(Nahum 1:3)
         
"For, lo, he that forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares unto man what is His thought, that makes the morning darkness, and treads upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is His Name
." (Amos 4:13)
         
"He divides the sea with His power, and by His understanding he smites through the proud. By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens; His Hand hath formed the crooked serpent. Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?"
 (Job 26:12-14)
         
"Great is The LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honor of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts: and I will declare Thy greatness."
 (Psalm 145:3-6)
         
"Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reaches unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, Thou preserves man and beast."
 (Psalm 36:5-6)
         
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
 (Ephesians 3:20-21)
         
Is anything too hard for The LORD? (Genesis 18:14) No! Yet some might say, "Sure, God is strong enough, but I don't think He cares enough about me personally to fulfill my deepest desires." Is that true? Consider these scriptures:

         
"But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
 (Romans 5:8)
         
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?"
 (Romans 8:31-32)
         
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
 (Matthew 7:11)
         
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."
 (John 16:23-24)
         
God desires greatly to give all He has to us, and God is looking for people who will receive what He has to give. So, what prevents us from receiving of God? James puts it this way: "Ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." (James 4:2-3)

         
God will not fulfill the desires of the flesh for us, for those are only counterfeit desires, and they cannot truly satisfy. So, when we come to the Cross, we must give up our old nature with its counterfeit desires that cannot be fulfilled, so that we might receive the new nature with the real desires that God will fulfill. In order to receive what God has, we must give up our self, and we cannot do this on our own, for that will only result in the counterfeit of giving up outward things while holding on to our old selves in our hearts. We must do this in partnership with God, as the Holy Spirit of truth leads us into the truth which makes us free indeed.

         
That is what it means to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, for the kingdom of God is within us, as Jesus said: "The kingdom of God comes not with observation:        Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)

         
The kingdom of God is not to be found in our old nature; it must therefore be in our new nature, and it is the gift of God: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

         
We must therefore submit to being given the kingdom, as Mary did, who sat at the feet of Jesus and heard His word. It's all too easy, however, to bury ourselves as Martha did in being "cumbered about with much serving." Many of our Churches today preach doing over being, a practice that runs contrary to our Lord's teachings. That is the error of attempting to make our old nature look like the new one, and it comes from not submitting to the gift of God's nature and righteousness: "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:3)

         
To receive the gift of God's righteousness we must humble ourselves as little children: "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receives me." (Matthew 18:1-5)

         
Notice how humbling ourselves as little children is essential to receiving the kingdom of heaven in our heart. Contrary to popular thinking, walking with God and experiencing the fullness of His love does not come through being perceived as a spiritual giant or as a servant in our church, but through humbling ourselves as little children in the eyes of God. That must be our goal in this life! Yet when we do so, we will find that God is putting His greatness within us.

         
God is looking for faith on the earth; He is looking for those who will believe Him as little children, so that He might show Himself strong in their behalf. As Jesus said, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:7-8)

         
Jesus made it abundantly clear in Luke 10:42 that if we want to experience the fullness of what God has for us, we must, as Mary did, choose "that good part." We must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. It follows that we must then diligently seek Him! We must delight ourselves in knowing God and His word intimately and not in busying ourselves with making our old nature look good. We must give up our old self and humbly submit as little children to the gift of the kingdom of God in the new nature. We must ask of God in faith out of our new nature, nothing wavering. Only then will God give us that which we request, only then will the deepest desires of our heart be fulfilled, only then will we see the greatness and power of God, and only then will the peaceable fruit of righteousness follow us all the days of our lives. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men." (Romans 14:17-18)

         
That is the service that is pleasing to God, which He will reward. God would much rather be believed and known and obeyed than served in appearance and not in heart! "And Samuel said, Hath The LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of The LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22) "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."(Hosea 6:6)

         
True service to God and His people can only come from a pure heart that loves and believes Him, that is, from the heart of the new nature. Serving others in any other way is a snare, and God does not count it as service to Him. God is looking for those who will serve and worship Him from the new nature and not from the counterfeit of the old. "But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him." (John 4:23)

         
God is looking for you! God wants to give you great and mighty things that the natural mind cannot begin to comprehend. God wants to fill you with joy and glory and power unlike anything the natural man can begin to know. The desires of the flesh are nothing next to the real desires that God will fulfill! God is looking for you. Will you let Him give you these things, or will you count yourself out? "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."(Jeremiah 33:3) "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (I Corinthians 2:9-10)


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