THE ABUNDANT LIFE:
“…I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
The only way into eternal life is through Jesus Christ as personal Savior, (John 3:15). But we do not stop here; to have eternal life is great, but there is more. Christ came that we might have life more abundantly. All believers have life, but not all have abundant life. We are living beneath our privilege if we are a believer and yet not enjoying the abundant life.
For life to be abundant, it must have abundant resources, and the only unlimited source of life is in the person Jesus Christ the Son of God, (John 14:6). To possess this fuller life, the believer must believe in Him, (John 15:1-5).
Dynamic, abundant living is not for just a few. It is God’s norm for all believers. It is spiritual life in depth, and without it, the Christian life becomes inane and meaningless. There is more and more talk about going "deeper" in the Lord. Well "deeper" should mean that we are walking in the abundant life of God.
If we do not have abundant life within us, we soon yield to the carnal (fleshly) life around us (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). The carnal life is circumstance-controlled; the abundant life is Spirit-controlled. The carnal Christian life leads to defeat; the abundant life leads to victory in Christ. Man seems to know everything about life except how to live it abundantly. From this moment on, determine not to be satisfied with anything less than God’s best: living life abundantly. LIFE LIKE GOD HAS LIFE!
There are a lot of cravings among believers in the days which we live. There are cravings for food, drink, love, popularity, riches, fame, attention, pleasure, and power. I cry every time I see a believer overcome by these cravings and walk away from the Lord.
Many times the cravings and lust in the heart for the world, the things of the world, and personal satisfaction exceeds thirst for the things of God and for His truth. Those who give in to the lust of the heart use justification and every possible excuse outside of themselves for why they are where they are emotionally, relationally, spiritually, financially, socially, and mentally. We live in a day of excuses and the victim mentality.
I have seen believers ask God for the right thing morality, socially, and spiritually and then when they receive it they use that very thing which was an answered prayer, as an excuse to be a victim to it. We are called to walk in the Spirit without excuses. My spouse, my children, my job, my church and my health cannot be used as an excuse for us walking in the flesh and making decisions outside of the will of God.
It states in the book of James that all lust starts in the heart of man.
James 1:13-15 ESV Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. (14) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
When we are not in the Spirit we are in the flesh and fulfilling the lust of the flesh. This is the root of wars and fighting among believers.
James 4:1-3 ESV What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (2) You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. (3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
When we walk in the spirit we are pleasing the Father and doing His will. When we are walking in the flesh we are fulfilling the lustful desires of the flesh. These fleshly lusts war against our soul, which is the way we think (our thoughts), the way we feel (our emotions) and the way we choose (our will).
1 Peter 2:11 ESV Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
1 John 2:15-17 ESV Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. (17) And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
How I long to see the Body of Christ to thirst after God and make the hard decisions to deny self. I cry out for the command of our Lord in Revelation to be a reality within the lives of many believers before it is to late.
Revelation 3:17-18 ESV For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Ephesians 5:18-21 ESV And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, (19) addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, (20) giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (21) submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
The Holy Spirit dwells within every believer. Some may be immature, weak and imperfect, but if we have been “born again” of the Spirit (See Jn.3:3-7), the Holy Spirit dwells in us (See 1 Cor.6:19, Rom.8:9).
It is one thing for us to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, but does the Holy Spirit "have us" that He may fill us with abundant life? The abundant life is not found in environment or circumstances, or in the things we may possess. It is found in the infilling of the Holy Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit" (See Eph.5:18) is a command.
We may be filled many, many times. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be Spirit- possessed, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-led and Spirit–controlled. It is a yielding up our lives daily as we die to self and living according to God's will and ways.
1. We are filled with the Spirit that we might have joy.
2. We are filled with the Spirit for service.
3. We are filled with the Spirit for power to be a bold witness.
4. We are filled with the Spirit for the hour of persecution.
5. We are filled with the Spirit that we may “walk in the Spirit” and not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
6. We are filled with the Spirit that we may be led by the Spirit.
7. We are filled with the Spirit that we might have a song in our hearts.
8. We are filled with the Spirit that we might submit to one another.
How can we be filled with the Holy Spirit?
First: We must desire Him to fill us.
Second: We must ask Him to fill us.
Third: We must believe that He does fill us.
Fourth: We must yield up control of our mind/thoughts, emotions/feeling, will/choices, and our physical body to the will and ways of the Holy Spirit. This is called "dying to self." Paul said, "I die daily."
Ephesians 5:18 ESV And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
What is the obstruction that prevents Christians from walking out a Spirit-filled life? Certainly God our Heavenly Father does not want to withhold any good thing from His children. If there is a problem then it is due to our unwillingness to let God have His way in our lives. It is called “The Carnal Nature.”
Galatians 5:16-17 ESV But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (17) For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
We sing and speak a lot about the LOVE of God, as we should. But there are not many songs concerning the WILL of God. All resistance to the WILL of God must be emptied out before we can maintain a “Spirit controlled,” “Spirit-filled” life. This resistance is sometimes hard to identify but it is known in the Bible as carnality or the “mind of the flesh,” which by the way is enmity or strife against God. We can call this carnality by what it really is, self-centeredness and rebellion!
Romans 8:6-8 ESV For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (7) For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. (8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
I know confessing believers who speak about their being rebellious like it is a badge of honor. The Scriptures tell us that rebellion is liken unto witchcraft.
1 Samuel 15:23 ESV For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.”
Everything that comes from the Father comes to us from a heart of faith and a submissive heart. We cry out for the love of God. Try crying out that God give you the wisdom and understanding to walk in His will. You can know His love without being in His will. But if you are in His will you will also be in His love.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.