How to Enjoy Abundant Life

Bro. BHAVIN SHAH In John 10:10 Jesus says ³I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.´ That was one of the reasons why Jesus came into the world and with the coming of the Holy Spirit we received all the resources to live complete and fulfilled lives. That is a wonderful gift from God. Yet we often fail to enjoy the blessings of abundant life.

What are the hindrances that we face?
The first essential for abundant life is PROVISION. The Bible says ³Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all things will be added unto you.´ There is a promise of provision to all those who trust in the Lord. As we learn more of God¶s ways we also learn to lean on this promise more. But along with all material provisions for a happy life there is also the provision for time. We cannot truly experience abundant life without having adequate time for prayer, Bible study, reflection, rest and even fun. If we are failing to receive this provision we are missing out on an essential feature of abundant life. Quite often it might be our own failing but there are instances when we must not hesitate to ask God for time. Another aspect of abundant life is PLACE. God desires us to have a definite and dignified station in life. He wants us to have an identity and a healthy relationship with those around us. The Bible has a lot to say about husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters. These if properly understood, can be a real blessing. Quite often God places the responsibility of those without it, i.e. the orphan, the widow, the refugee, the aged on the church. These are essential aspects that we should develop in our society and church. The most important aspect of abundant life is however, our own PERSONOLITY. Quite often things that prevent us from experiencing abundant life are within us. Jesus rightly diagnosed. ³The spirit is willing but the flesh us weak.´ We are often bound by ingrained habit and a spirit of rebellion. We do struggle hard against it. We set standards for ourselves and make strong resolutions like ³I will read the Bible´ ³I will pray´ etc. However, exertion of the willpower alone is doomed to fail. The cycle of resolution failure, discouragement, repentance will cause a state of constant conflict which will destroy rather than strengthen. But the promise of abundant life includes our personalities too. In fact there are many promises in the Bible concerning various aspects of personality; promises of abundant love, good works, peace etc. The right exercise of the will is to place our lives before Jesus so that He can change us. That of course demands an initial response and a continual one. Then sanctification comes as a free gift from God. Does that mean that we just wait for God and do nothing ourselves? No. St. Paul says in Gal. 6:8 ³he who sows to his own flesh will from flesh reap corruption: but he who sows to the spirit will from the spirit reap eternal life.´ We must sow to the spirit. We can do that by cultivating a disciplined spiritual life. Discipleship does not come naturally to

anyone. It is something to be learnt. We must constantly be asking God to lead us forward. Not only that. We must also be willing to be open about it and to discuss with other Christians our experiences, our failures and frustrations as well as our testimony. It is so much easier to share a testimony, yet the other is equally important. God is interested in internal things rather than external things. Often the external things are only the outworking of internal things. Therefore, the most important discipline to learn is developing a personal relationship with God. That involves listening to God, praying, mediating on His word and fasting. For these things we must set aside special time. As we grow in this we will also grow in experiencing the presence of God all the time and being able to pray while doing something else. But that does not happen instantly. We must always allow God to work in us at His speed and not try to jump ahead of Him. One of the most difficult things in this area has to admit to yourself that you have made a mistake. We must be willing to listen to others and to change. Sometimes even start from scratch. We read in the Bible that Jesus¶ disciples came to Him and asked Him to teach them how to pray. Prayer, like all other disciplines, is something to be learnt, even something to be experimented with. Some experiments you can try are± 1) Use your imagination, both in listening to God and in praying. Considering the vast number of images used in the scriptures it is apparent that God wants us to use our imagination. You know that Jesus is in the room. Can you see Him in your mind¶s eye? He wants to heal; as you lay your hands on someone can you see His hands also similarly laid on them? This is not just a psychological device. God can speak to you through it. 2) Try praying for strangers in various ways. Pray briefly for anybody your eyes focus on. Try that out for one day and share your experiences with others. It is a long learning process. These are just some indications to or beginning. When God really breaks through into our lives He attacks it at its most rigid, sometimes most cherished points. We must be willing to yield. Thus God will begin to mould us into what He wants us to be. A sure outcome of that will be an overflowing of joy. That joy is not just a good feeling. It may accompany times of real hardship and grief. It is the result of experiencing the abundant life of God.

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