In March, my husband and I went whale watching in Monterey Bay. We “only” saw two whales. But the show these two Humpback Whales put on for us was ASTOUNDING! They came under our boat, spy-hopped right next to us, waved their pectoral fins right in front of us, launched themselves out of the water and really seemed to be having a competition…I could just imagine the first one saying “Watch this…” Then doing his “trick” and saying to his friend, “See if you can beat *that*!” The second one would then copy cat the first.
These two whales supplied us with and ABUNDANCE of whale antics, joy, amazement and filled me with the wonder of my God who created these marvelous creatures! Who would have thought that we could return from a whale watching tour having “only” seen two whales, but literally having cataloged every single whale behavior known to man above the surface of the water. It was incredible! Abundance…for sure.
To really experience the abundant life that God intends, of course, we have to believe what God says is true. The incredible display that my husband and I saw that day doesn’t even begin to touch the incredible stuff that God does in our lives. The “common grace” of day to day life–just even as basic as our beating heart (have you ever thought about that?) is mysterious, wonderful, and glorifies our great God.
I didn’t say we need to believe in God, though we certainly do that, but…it may surprise you to know that believing in God isn’t enough to experience the abundant life–the satisfying, full, life that Jesus came to earth to see us experience.
We simply have to believe God.
What does he say that we have to believe?
First and foremost, we have to believe what he says in Romans 3:23, that we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God. We have to believe what God says in his Word in Romans 6:23–that the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. This means that the wages of my sin–of your sin–is death. We have to believe what God says in Romans 5:8 when he intervenes and says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” You see, apart from embracing the truth that God says about Jesus and about yourself, there really is no way to experience the abundant life. It is all just smoke and mirrors apart from the sacrifice Jesus made for you.
So, before we go any further, I hope you will be sure that you have identified that you agree with God that, left on your own, you wouldn’t deserve heaven. That God, being kind and loving has provided a Savior to go in your place to pay the price that righteous holy God requires. Be sure that you know that Jesus paid the price for you–he bought you–he ransomed you–so that you would never be forsaken by God or have to be separated from him and so you could HAVE the abundant life we have studied this week!
Apart from embracing these truths, there is not only no abundant life on this planet, but there is no heaven. Please be sure this is settled for you today if you haven’t done so previously! Here is a link to a presentation of the 4 Spiritual Laws if you want a thorough, but clear understanding of these truths.
This week’s “Group Session” video is here:
God’s Word–the Bible–is Truth. What it says is reliable. So often we balk at the passage in Psalm 139 that says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. We just can’t let ourselves accept that. Here is a file that, perhaps, can convince you that God isn’t kidding. He thinks you are an amazing work of His creative genius. Download this file and have a look at it…Read what it says out loud each day and see if you don’t experience a transformation! Click here: Who I Am In Christ 02
Psalm 139 tells us that we are precious in God’s eyes as his wonderful masterpiece.
At the same time, we are encouraged in verses 23 and 24 to remember that we are the creation and he is the Creator. He wants us to invite him to search us and know us and tell us what needs adjusting. It is vital that we be willing to welcome him into our eating and body image issues. He is the one who knows what we need and what will enable our bodies to be at their best. He alone knows what our “natural God-given size” even is! We want to trust him to feed us in our proper time and to show us what a “0” really feels like for us and when we are at a “5.” We want to invite him to tell us when we are acting out of greed or trying to deceive ourselves and when we can celebrate even the smallest of victories! He is doing a new thing and wants us to sing and shout about it!
In order for us to really invite him to search us and know us like the Psalm demonstrates, we want to learn to be still in his presence.
I don’t mean a “quiet time.” If you are anything like me, your “quiet times” can be quite BUSY. Not quiet at all. I mean, where you just sit in his presence with no agenda. Just waiting on Him. If you have acknowledged him as your Savior (see above), then He says that His Holy Spirit is present living within you. He is present with you even if you don’t “feel” him.
It is high time we cease from letting our feelings dictate what we believe is fact. Our feelings are soooo impacted by our struggles with our weight and eating and that just shouldn’t be the case when you consider all that God has offered to us! The truth is God is present with us PERIOD. Isn’t it time that we let FACTS (as GOD defines them) dictate our feelings, instead? We have WONDERFUL news! The “Who I Am in Christ” list is incredibly great news! So is the gift of salvation! So is the fact that God is present with us wanting to guide and direct us! Let’s let these truths saturate us with the joy that Jesus says is ours. He says HIS joy can be IN us! This IS the abundant life (at least in part).
This ABUNDANT LIFE that our God offers us is distinctly different from the life that the world offers us. So, in the comments, we are going to create a sort of cumulative list (in the book, this activity is on page 103).
What is the LIFE that the WORLD offers us? What words or phrases describe this WORLDLY LIFE? Please respond in the comments, using magazine reference or other advertising references or just your own good observation skills!
What is the ABUNDANT LIFE that the LORD offers us? What words or phrases describe this ABUNDANT life? Please respond in the comments using a bible dictionary or concordance to flesh out the meaning of “Abundant Life.”
I am leaving an example of the format you can use to respond.
Then, come back later on …today, later in the weekend, or next week and read out loud all of the words and phrases that people have used to describe first “LIFE the WORLD offers” and then “ABUNDANT LIFE that GOD offers.” When you do that part, then please respond to this:
How does your soul feel when you speak the words and phrases out loud that describe the LIFE the WORLD offers?
How does your soul feel when you speak the words and phrases out loud that describe the ABUNDANT LIFE that God offers?
Life the World Offers: easy, convenient, extreme!…etc.
Abundant Life that God Offers: purposeful, rich, sacrificial, rewarding…etc.
LIFE THE WORLD OFFERS US: Shallow, immoral, stressful, self-centered.
ABUNDANT LIFE THAT GOD OFFERS: Deep, pure, peaceful,, Christ-centered, love-filled.
Life the world offers: Lies of Satan, You can have wealth, fame , sex, power, beautiful body-a perfected body. Any thing you flesh desires.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 As in water face answers to and reflects face, so the heart of man to man.
20 Sheol (the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the place of destruction) are never satisfied; so [the lust of] the eyes of man is never satisfied.
21 As the refining pot for silver and the furnace for gold [bring forth all the impurities of the metal], so let a man be in his trial of praise [ridding himself of all that is base or insincere; for a man is judged by what he praises and of what he boasts].
Abundant Life God offers: All focus is on God, Christ lifted up!
Peace, joy, hope, salvation, a personal and intimate relationship with God, exc.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.
10 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 [a]overflows).
11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.
10:10 that they may have life . . . abundantly. The life that Jesus gives is unique because it is eternal, and He gives this life in ever-growing abundance to His redeemed.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-3
Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 Furthermore, [a]brethren, we beg and admonish you in [virtue of our union with] the Lord Jesus, that [you follow the instructions which] you learned from us about how you ought to walk so as to please and gratify God, as indeed you are doing, [and] that you do so even more and more abundantly [attaining yet greater perfection in living this life].
2 For you know what charges and precepts we gave you [[b]on the authority and by the inspiration of] the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice,
Life the world offers: Strive to be the smartest, wealthiest, most physically appealing, most popular. and to have the best of everything. Life is all about partying, drinking, and promiscuous sex. Always want more; it’s all about me feeling good. Changing your appearance will make you feel better about yourself. Never be satisfied or content.
Abundant life the Lord offers: Experiencing satisfaction in Christ; being filled with, and overflowing with, exceeding measures of love, joy, peace, hope, and contentment; having a good purpose; enjoying relationship with God; having eternal life and a good future as God’s child; Christ in me showing me the way to go; being focused on spiritual growth; experiencing God’s comfort, encouragement, acceptance; resting instead of striving; freedom; knowing I can count on God’s provision in every area of my life; knowing God’s word is truth; knowing God is faithful and never changes. Knowing God.
Life the world offers: selfishness, pride, adultery, sin, shame, jealousy, coveting, rejection
Life God offers: love, humbleness, joy, promises fulfilled, faithfulness, content, acceptance
Life the World offers: Comes with a hefty price tag and compounding interest.
Life God offers: Comes with a receipt stamped “PAID IN FULL”.
Life the world offers: designer clothes, botox, beautiful houses, fancy cars, superficial acquaintences, busy work, contant striving, never enough, superficial, anxiety filled and insecure.
Life God Offers: Joyous, Deep, Emotionally Rich, Secure in His promises, His Kingdom, Simpler, Satisfying, Love filled
Late to the game- reading the world life comments makes me feel, anxious, insecure, and not good enogh. Reading the God Promised life makes me feel joy, peace, contetment, loved and BEAUTIFUL