Living a Full Life
One of the biggest challenges for us to do is to separate our own thoughts and how we think that things should be done, from the way that the Bible says should be done.
The fact that we have been influenced throughout our entire lives by thoughts, precepts and laws from the culture we live in should not be surprising.
However once we become Christians, to allow those thoughts and ways to dominate our thinking and forge our actions are against the very purpose for which we have been saved unless those thoughts and actions are based upon the Holy Scriptures that we hold dear to our hearts.
I believe that God is bringing us to the place where the Word of God is what governs our individual lives and thinking and will eventually have a greater influence upon the society we live in beginning with having a greater influence on our individual lives as followers of Christ.
Being [for the most part] impatient people we have pushed our lives forward however some of us have done so at the expense of Kingdom principles and Kingdom relationships.
Keeping with our old mindset and thinking that our way is the correct way without considering the reality of God and His Word – we have limited our understanding of what life is about and therefore have also limited the forward progression that God desires for us to attain.
The reason for this is because many have come to God during times of desperation and need. After looking to Him to meet the need and relieve us of our distress, once the pressure of those situations has been alleviated we often keep that same initial mindset that this is the purpose of God. He’s supposed to be there when something is wrong or when I have a need.
Although He is there during these times and He will not let you down, He desires for you to mature to the place where you don’t follow Him for what He can or will do for you, but serve Him because of what He did for you through Calvary’s cross.
If the question “Who is God” were posed to you, would you be able to respond to this with a “relational” answer and not one that is religious in nature?
In response to the question, many Christians will respond with He’s Savior – He is! He’s Lord – He is! Then go into all the attributes of God as being our healer, provider and our deliverer as well as the other things that make up Who God Is.
However, being a relational person, can we say that God is our friend? He is the One Who sustains me when the devil tries to take me out? He is the One Who is there when no one else is around?
What I’m sharing is the fact that our walk with God is to be one that goes beyond what we learn about God and should bring us to the place where how we live “naturally” depicts or conveys the fact that what we learned through the Scriptures have become our very lives.
This is stepping into a relational walk with God and although those other attributes of God being Who He is are right and true, you are now beginning to live in a manner that God has desired for His people to live for centuries.
As simple as this may sound it is more than agreeing that this is how God wants us to act or saying “God is my friend, He sustains me and will always be there no matter what.”
It entails bringing our lives to the place where we almost unconsciously live each day knowing these things without question. Even if our circumstances depict something that’s totally contrary to this confession we will continue to live a God-conscious life.
This becomes the challenging part of our walk with God as to do this effectively, we must:
- Ward off frustration because of the times we may have fallen;
- We must ward off impatience as this will not happen overnight;
- We must do this so consistently that this way of living becomes our primary nature – not a “second nature.”
In order for us to do this, God has principles in the Scriptures that will ensure that we attain this type of lifestyle and more than that ensure that this lifestyle is sustained as well.
Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life. This abundant life is more than a state of mind or a specific fulfilled promise that Jesus made to us. It is a place in this life that is reserved for those who choose to bring their actions and character in alignment with God’s Word.
Therefore living a full life is a lifestyle with a mindset that allows us to enjoy each and every day independent of circumstances, affliction and crisis.
God wants us to live without being negatively affected by what we may face. He wants us to continue to remain focused on the life we are supposed to have without being distracted by a physical infirmity, social ill, political injustice, educational flaws or mental stress and distress.
As a foundation for this teaching, Jesus said in John 10:10:
“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.”
Looking here at this complete verse of scripture, you see the thief coming to steal, kill and destroy and Jesus coming to give life. What is not conveyed here is what this thief that most scholars agree is reference to satan is stealing, killing and destroying.
However the second part of what Jesus says here makes it clear that satan's goal is alter this life that Jesus reveals. This allows us to see that one of the main objectives of satan in coming against us is to steal, kill and destroy the very life that Jesus came to give us.
The Amplified Bible translates this verse as:
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
Therefore if we are going to “live this life to the full” we must resist what satan is trying to do [steal, kill and destroy the life] and embrace what God has made readily available to us which is the life that Jesus gives.
In support of this statement of satan as the thief, coming to steal, kill and destroy this “life” that Jesus came to give us, in the Greek the word translated destroy is a word than means,
“To put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; render useless; to kill; to declare that one must be put to death; to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell; to perish, to be lost, ruined, to lose.”
Each description deals with the “elimination of and is the exact opposite of” what Jesus said He came to give us.
Each definition is diametrically opposed to life and we must fight in the spirit to gain the purpose for Christ coming into the earth granting us life and then culminating into eternal life.
To live in this fashion, we must understand the way in which God has determined for us to live it. Once this principle is understood and applied we will find that we can live “better” than we currently are.
More than that, if we can get our lives to the place where we are living the life that’s available, we will be vessels that God will use to help others get to this same place for themselves.
Before we gained understanding of the Scriptures, we viewed enjoying life from the perspective of the world. Not all inclusive, but our enjoying of life dealt with parties, drinking, drugging, having as many “non-committal” relationships as possible; achieving a certain status in the community, working in corporate America to become the Boss; having fun and doing so often at the expense of someone else’s hurt by putting them down or magnifying their shortcomings or physical attributes.
We didn’t realize that much of this was vanity and would eventually bring hurt and pain and sooner or later our own demise.
Satan does not play fair, “he gives pleasure to bring us into bondage – God gives life that brings us pleasure.” Although pleasure [or the ability to enjoy life on a consistent basis] is the goal of most people, what God offers is totally opposed to what satan offers.
The fact is, we should be pursuing life each day and in doing so we must turn to the Scriptures to determine what this type of life is supposed to look like and further how we are able to achieve and sustain it on a daily basis.
In the Book of John chapter 14, in Jesus dialogue with Thomas, He reveals a dynamic Truth about what this life is and how it is to be attained and further sustained.
His conversation begins in verse 1 with Him saying:
Let ï»¿ï»¿not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. ï»¿2 In My Father’s house are many ï»¿ï»¿mansions; if it were not so, ï»¿ï»¿I would have told you. ï»¿ï»¿I go to prepare a place for you. ï»¿3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, ï»¿ï»¿I will come again and receive you to Myself; that ï»¿ï»¿where I am, there you may be also. ï»¿4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
ï»¿5ï»¿ ï»¿ï»¿Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
ï»¿6ï»¿ Jesus said to him, “I am ï»¿ï»¿the way, ï»¿ï»¿the truth, and ï»¿ï»¿the life. ï»¿ï»¿No one comes to the Father ï»¿ï»¿except through Me.
ï»¿7ï»¿ ï»¿ï»¿“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
In Jesus saying “I am the way the truth and the life” He was revealing what it takes to fully enjoy Him. He was letting us know that He was not our “ultimate” destination, but the Father is supposed to be our goal.
This is why in John 10:9 He said He was the “door” of which the door leads to something or someone else. Specifically, it says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me he will be saved, and go in and out and find pasture.”
The tragedy of many people is that they try to attain the Father through their own religious ideals and experiences apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Even some people that receive Christ as their Savior neglect to allow the Scriptures to speak to them so they can develop the relationship with the Father that only comes through Christ.
Again, settling for what they were taught through man-made tradition, they stay as far away from Christ as they can and although they have come to know what the Scriptures say, as Jesus makes so clear here, they “…refuse to come to me to have life…”
John 5 [NIV Translation]
I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently studyï»¿ï»¿ the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Trying to attain a full life in any way other than what is revealed in Scripture causes frustration and will eventually bring us to the place where we either settle for a religious experience or for some, where we turn our back on God totally. My prayer is that neither of these two actions would happen to us.
Here Jesus reveals that as important as the Scriptures are, they are not given to us so that the Person of the Scriptures could be replaced by a group of rules, regulations, church tradition and religious cliché’s.
They point to the Person that has been given the authority to bring into our lives “true life” that sustains us here in the earth. This life leads to eternal life as we follow His precepts and principles.
What we don’t realize is that satan does not care if we settle for another religious experience. What he is most opposed to is our walking in the freedom of authority that God has made available.
What I must make clear is that the Holy Scriptures that we use for our standard of living is vital for us as they reveal the heart of God and give us the direction necessary so we are able to attain the Person they reveal.
What we are cautioned against is elevating them above the Person of Christ as the One that gives us “His Own life.”
Another way to say this is “We are not to settle for the knowledge of what the Scriptures give without pressing in to know the Person of Christ and allow Him to change us into His own image by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore in the same manner that satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers to the Truth of the Gospel, the same tactics are used for some of us. He blinds us to the importance of the Scripture that is in the Book of Acts where the initial power of the Holy Spirit was just released on all flesh.
Further he causes many Christians to settle for a religious experience that is void of the power to change life’s negatives and overcome the sins that have gripped our lives.
Obedience to the pattern that God desires for us must become the priority for us as followers of Jesus Christ as it was in the early Church.
This pattern or example was meant to be followed and it’s through our full obedience to what God reveals here that we enter into the life that God freely gave us.
[This is an excerpt from a full teaching on the subject. If you would like a copy of this message in its entirety, please contact the church at 518-462-2638]