The question haunted me for years. I’d hear other Christians talk about abundant life, but I sure didn’t seem to possess it. “There must be something wrong with my faith,” I concluded. So, I tried harder. The end of that course of action left me feeling more defeated, than joyful. It always seemed as if abundant life was just beyond my grasp; or as I saw it, way out of my reach because I was so unworthy of it. I lived with a constant sense that God was displeased with my performance.
Then I heard there was a “second blessing” I ought to be pursuing. So I pursued that, but that was even less than I expected. After all was said and done, I did not receive the second blessing. It was pointed out to me later that I didn’t do it correctly. There was a certain technique and I had failed at that too. Oh.
After several years of beating myself up, I finally concluded that there was no such thing as abundant life in this life. Instead, I lived with the notion that life is hard, so get over it. Suck it up you silly wimp and get on with living a life of determined faith! I became largely unsympathetic toward those who were struggling in their walk with God—“Don’t they get it? We walk by faith not by sight. It’s all going to be a very difficult path from here on out, so count on happiness be a very sparse experience!” Oh.
Now what? Read another Christian book or attend the next conference that rolls into town? It’s easy to become cynical when we repeatedly turn to techniques or methods that don’t produce the results we were told to expect. And that’s exactly where God finally brought me and appeared to drop me off… That was a very good thing!
So, Deb, what if abundant life isn’t outside you? And what if abundant life isn’t something you have to produce at all? What if Abundant Life is the life of Jesus abiding in you? Oh.
I never saw it before. I said the words, “Jesus, come into my life,” but there was a huge disconnect between the words and the reality of it. Besides that, it sounded so very strange to articulate that the same Jesus Christ who walked the earth over 2000 years ago was living in me now in the form of a Spirit. That was almost a creepy realization. You know, like the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
I even read The Indwelling Life of Christ by Major Ina Thomas and attended churches that taught New Covenant theology, but it did not soak in until I accepted by faith that the life He lived on earth, He now longs to live through the life of every believer.
A dear friend gave me Dan Stone’s book, The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has You Worn Out” and that opened my eyes even further. I also picked up Major Thomas’ book again and found new insight from his message. It was through reading both of these books, and especially meditating on the Scriptures, that the Holy Spirit began to stir in me the reality of His life in me as the Abundant Life I was looking for.
Dan Stone put it this way, “God is a Spirit Being in union with your spirit being. You are in God. He is in you. He lives as you. All the life comes through you. You have a full, complete, perfect union” (The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has You Worn Out, pg 81, One Press, Corvallis, Oregon).
When I saw this line in Major Ian Thomas’ book it finally hit me: “The Christian life is nothing less than the life which He lived then…lived now by Him in you” (The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of You, pg 10, Multnomah Publishers, Sisters, Oregon).
Oh. OH! At once, I saw what I had never seen before: I, a 21st Century believer in Jesus Christ, possess the very life of Christ in Spirit form. If I will surrender to His life in me, He will flow through me His character and power—it is the fruit of the Spirit. …and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
This is the message the church so desperately needs to know today. Somehow we have gotten off track. We seem to be pursuing all sorts of things, but I think this is so because the reality of Christ as our life has missed our notice. It’s even harder to discover it amid all the religious activity and chatter…
If for any reason you do not know the reality of Jesus Christ living in you, as you, I pray you will ask Him to make it real to you. That single truth changes everything. It’s then we come to know He is Life Abundant!
To listen to more on this topic click Abundant Life or refer to the “Listen To” portion of the blog.
In Christ alone!
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