Having life more abundantly

photo of butterfly

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Jesus said that He wants us to have life, and to have it more abundantly. But what is abundant life? Can the question be answered by taking a class? (I actually spent a semester studying “The Abundant Life” in Bible College. Ridiculous, huh? Or by listening to a sermon or by reading a blog?

No. Learning about the abundant life is a personal experience; it requires faith; it requires a surrender to the gospel, and the pursuit of a relationship with Jesus. However, there ARE plenty of other things that can be learned through classes, sermons and blogs! 🙂

I really enjoy learning, and discovered that teaching my kids was a great way to learn. I got an education through homeschooling, and it was a blast! Honeybee colonies, and galaxies; the Mayflower Journey, and the difference between object pronouns and subject pronouns.  🙂  So many wonderful things to teach my children and to learn (for the first time) right along with them!

As the years went by, however, I realized that I was failing to live up to the ideal of becoming “the perfect Christian mother.” So, God took the opportunity to use my inadequacies to teach me the truth. After many long years of wandering in the wilderness of Churchianity amidst the evaluating eyes of other home-school moms, I entered the Promised Land of Rest.

Resting is a really important part of living! And to discover the abundant life, a born-again child of God needs to first rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Once I began to rest, Jesus made Himself known to me again.

It was as if He said, “Hi there! Remember me!?”

I did remember Him! My kind and gentle Savior. I once again felt an overflowing of that glorious joy that only He can give. Resting in Him is where abundant life is found.

Growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, I learned that I was a forgiven person. I learned that He accepts me in the midst of my sinfulness. I learned that He truly has time to spare for me, and that He gives of Himself as He speaks to me in His unique way of speaking. As I grew and matured, I began to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “I have come that they may have life.”

There is no real life apart from the Lord. Living in reality with Him, is the abundant life. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the resurrection and the life. He is the only One who can offer real life.

“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.” (John 5:26).

You can receive His life by responding to Him in faith, and by believing in what He has already done for you: Jesus Christ died, was buried and then He rose again.  When you believe in the gospel you receive spiritual life. The life that you receive is Him, His Spirit.

Real life begins there, and it never ends. We have been given eternal life.

We discover the abundant life as we LIVE, as we walk in the Spirit. And we do walk in the Spirit because His Spirit dwells inside of us as we are walking around!

He gave us life by coming to dwell inside of us because we chose to believe in the gospel and to put our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. We trusted Him at the moment of our new birth, and we continue to trust Him today, tomorrow and for all of eternity.

As we continue trusting Him every day and in every circumstance, we will experience the abundant life because the God of the Universe lives inside of us.

February 25, 2016

Outside of Churchianity

daylight dirt road ecology environment

What is the law of the Spirit of life? And how is it different from the law of sin and death? Paul mentions these two opposing laws in his letter to the Romans.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

The path to freedom is going to be different for each individual born-again believer, so all I can do is share my story. For me, after spending 15 years wandering in the wilderness of Churchianity, the Lord God Himself set me free to enter the Promised Land of Rest.

He made me free by slowly and gently leading me away from a life focused on “works.” He made me free by stripping me of my belief system that was based on rules and regulations.

Imagine one of those really irritating Christians who is all about, “you have to do this, and you shouldn’t do that!” Yeah. That was me.

But then my husband quit church.

I had spent years waiting for him to repent and obey, so when he gave up altogether, I had to completely let go of my hope of one day having the perfect Christian family.

It seemed so devastating to me at the time — church attendance was the “First Commandment” in my denomination (which was a non-denominational church) — but it was actually one of the best things that ever happened to me.  His quitting church led me to quit church, and it was only then that I could see that I had made church attendance an idol.  And that idol worship kept me separated from God in my mind.

I quit church in 2004, and by 2006 most of the ‘law of sin and death’ had been removed.  By teaching me the truth, the Lord was able to get rid of the falsehoods that were keeping me in the wilderness.  But there was one ‘law’ that I was still holding on to tenaciously!  I still believed that we “have to ask forgiveness for our sins.” . . . Thanks to AM Radio and an excellent grace teacher (Bob George!), in 2007 the Lord was finally able to gently remove that one last requirement.

From that point on, I no longer had a Christian To-Do List. I realized that there was simply nothing left for me to do. I then began to live my life in a totally different way.

How was my Christian life different?  I began living day by day simply trusting Him to lead me and guide me.  The unrealistic expectations that I put on our three kids slipped away, and I began to relax and allow them to be themselves.  I also began to give my husband grace, and stopped trying to change him into a repentant and obedient ‘godly man.’  I stopped believing that I could “serve God” (as if He needed anything from me!  Acts 17:25), and I began resting in the the work He has already done for me.

In essence, I began living by the law of the Spirit of life. And I stopped living by the law of sin and death.

Here in the Promised Land of Rest, outside of Churchianity, I am able to live every day with Jesus — who is Life — worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.

It’s a wonderful life.

February 24, 2016