A personal walk with God and stuff learned on the way

Posts tagged ‘Abundant life’

Living a life that honours Jesus

Back in 2002 the BBC broadcast a programme called Great Britons in which they listed the results of a poll to find the 100 greatest Britons in history. This made quite interesting viewing because it showed that there were men and women in history who, by their lives or work or example, often paved the way for us to live the lives and even enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.

One of the memorable entries on this list for me was the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst who lead the movement to give women the vote in the early part of the 20th century.  The programme also told the story of Emily Davison who, whilst attempting to highlight their cause, died when she threw herself in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913.

I was amazed at what these women went through in order to simply have the right to vote. Emily Davison, in particular, was an example of someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice for something she believed in. I don’t consider myself a political person, but when elections come around I remember these women and think that if they endured all that they did, to not vote myself diminishes what they sacrificed to give me.

Jesus, of course, paid the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross.  When we were separated from God by sin we had no ability to bridge the gap between us and God. Instead Jesus had to do it and, in dying, He gave us what we couldn’t get ourselves by any amount of effort on our part.

John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came for us to have life and have it abundantly. If we don’t take hold of everything he provided for us, every promise, every blessing, every provision, we are diminishing his great sacrifice and living our lives at a lower level than the one he intended for us.

Philippians chapter 3 describes our response in the light of this

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Phil 3:12

Since Jesus endured the suffering that he did to free us from sin and to give us this abundant life, to not seize hold of what he died to give us dishonours and belittles what He went through.

Seek to live a life that honours Jesus’ sacrifice

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Getting the devil back

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full  (John 10:10)

This is a very familiar passage and one of Jesus’ best known quotes. Satan is out to take whatever he can get from us and he will use every trick he can to achieve his objectives. He is clever and crafty and he lies to us constantly.

Not one of us hasn’t fallen into his traps at one time or another, but getting mad at the devil doesn’t destroy his influence in our lives. The Bible has a lot to say about how to overcome the devil and essentially it says to be exactly the opposite of what he is.

 

When we think of spiritual warfare, we imagine something which involves aggression, hostility and combativeness.

God, however, is thinking of something entirely different for us. Romans 12 tells us how to fight the good fight:

 

  • Love sincerely, Hate only evil, hold fast to what is good
  • Be committed to one another
  • Honour one another
  • Keep serving the Lord enthusiastically
  • Be hopeful and joyful
  • Endure difficulties with patience
  • Pray regularly and consistently
  • Share with one another – be hospitable
  • Be a blessing to those who have wronged you
  • Share in the joy of others and if someone is hurting, ache with them
  • Live alongside one another amicably
  • Don’t think of anyone as too low for you to get alongside them
  • Whenever you are able to, live in harmony with everyone
  • Don’t get anyone back for what they have done

God gave me a good example of this principle in action (some of the details have been changed to maintain anonymity).

Some time ago a close friend of mine called Linda was organising a trip for some people that we knew.  They were going to go away skiing and although I wanted to go with them, I hadn’t been invited.  I was embarrassed and a little hurt because Linda and I were good friends and yet it seemed she was inviting everyone else except me.

I wanted to feel sorry for myself and sulk. I also was tempted to avoid her – ice her out, but around that time I heard teaching on this principle and God challenged me to do something good for her.  Well I definitely didn’t want to at all, but I went out and bought her some ski goggles.  The thing is, when I gave them to her, all those feelings of self-pity and ill-will towards her had gone completely. I was able to wish her a good trip and mean it.

God didn’t tell me to do that for her benefit, it was for me so that I would be free from the devil’s temptation to hold a grudge against her.

Satan will hate it if you are good when you want to act bad. Don’t sink to his level, combat him by rising above.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom 12: 21

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