PATHWAY OF PEACE
Walking in God’s Abundant
By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer
Jesus said in John 10:10, "I have come that they may
have life, and have it to the full."
Do you want to experience His abundant life? Do you want to say,
"Praise Jesus, I am doing great!" and mean it when others
stop to ask you in the hallway at work?
The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12 that he learned
to be content in every circumstance, whether rich or poor.
What's the secret?
I believe that if we avoid three pitfalls along the path of life,
we will be enabled with God's grace to live life abundantly right
First, you can't live in the past.
God says that we are new creations. The old has gone and the
new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). We serve "The Great I
Am," not the "Great I Was." God
is a God who lives in our day to day, granting us new mercies
If God is all about newness, why do we as humans keep finding
ourselves stuck in our past? Sometimes that’s because our
past is our familiar frame of reference, and what is familiar
is comfortable and comforting to us. What is out there ahead,
though potentially wonderful, is unseen, unknown, untouched. And
that scares us. Sometimes we prefer to rustle up images of the
“good old days” rather than stepping out in faith
and creating better days ahead.
But living in the past has major drawbacks. First, when we live
in the past, we quickly become dissatisfied with our current lives.
Instead of being thankful in all things, we fuss, wishing for
what we used to have. And wishing for what used to be can be a
dangerous thing. Just look at the Israelites in the Bible. They
got miraculously delivered out of Egypt, but then spent 40 years
wandering in the wilderness instead of enjoying the Promised Land
because their complaining, short-sighted mindset held them back
from God’s blessings.
When we live in the past, we also can't see God's goodness in
our midst. Naomi exclaimed upon her return to Bethlehem, "I
went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty" (Ruth
1:21). Naomi failed to see that though she had lost her two beloved
sons, she had gained the undying loyalty of a daughter-in-law,
Ruth, who chose willingly to become Naomi’s friend in need.
Naomi wasn’t “empty,” as she pitifully proclaimed.
The truth was God had brought Naomi a wonderful companion during
her time of grief, but Naomi could only see a bleak future devoid
of meaning because she could not see beyond how things used to
be. How often we do this when life doesn’t turn out as we
expected it to! We forget the blessings along the way.
Second, it isn't about your timetable.
Have you been waiting for God to give you something that it seems
everyone else has? -- a husband, a baby, a new car, a promotion,
a recognized, self-supporting ministry? You feel like you have
been waiting long enough and now you deserve to get what God has
freely bestowed on everyone else but you.
But who says that God has to do things according to your timetable?
God has His timetable. As His children, we have inherited His
True, His ways are not our ways, but if we ask for bread, will
He give us a stone? If we ask for fish, will He give us a serpent
(Luke 11:11)? No. God gives good things to those who ask -- it's
just that He might not give them right away.
And according to God's timing, it was perfect that Abraham's
wife Sarah had a baby in her old age, that Lazarus would be healed
only after he had died and was dead for three days, and that Jesus
-- the very Son of God -- spent 30 years learning and only about
three years in ministry.
When we rest in God's timetable, we are not bound by our own
self-impinging deadlines or influenced by unrealistic expectations
of our society or our peers. We can enjoy each moment of life
without stressing out that it has all passed us by. We can go
through life being joyful when others succeed because we know
that God hasn't forgotten our desires and dreams.
In His perfect timing, He will answer our prayers as we delight
in Him, for it says in God’s Word, “Delight yourself
in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”
And last, you must never let fear rule.
God knows that we as humans can get pretty wound up about our
day-to-day living, which is why there are so many verses in the
Scriptures that proclaim in essence, “Fear not!” The
Bible tells us to let the peace of God reign in our hearts (Colossians
3:15). God says that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but
of love, of power, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
At various junctures in our lives, we can let our hearts become
troubled, especially when our safety net has been threatened –
financial challenges, marital discord, job insecurities, health
issues, changing living situations, dreams becoming seemingly
more elusive than ever. We have a tendency of doing what Peter
did when he stepped out of the boat – we focus on the deep
waters beneath us instead of the awesome provision of Jesus Christ
straight ahead and we start sinking!
We forget that our Advocate, Jesus, is the same yesterday, today,
and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Even though we might not see it in
the turbulent times of our lives, we have to remember that God
is in control. He will keep us from falling (Jude 1:24). He will
not give us more than we can bear.
When we live one day at a time, understanding that God sets our
course, and we let His peace rule in our hearts, the abundant
life is ours, no matter what our age, rank, circumstance, hang-ups,
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