This past week I’ve been thinking about how important it is to have Christian friends to talk with about the Lord, to share what you’re learning about Him, and to hold you accountable in your life and service to Him. I’ve discovered in a very personal way the loneliness of being a Christian in a secular world, even when you go to church and Bible study and socialize with other believers. Too many Christians just go through the motions of Christian living, looking good on the outside and doing the right things and saying the right words, but not really living the Christ life, the “set apart to God” life. It’s too easy to live in the shallows and live for ourselves. And sometimes life gets so full and flies by so fast that you don’t even realize you haven’t taken time to read your Bible and to pray and ask God’s direction for the day - for the moment. Its too easy to allow our lives to be so filled with worldly demands that we become dull to the spiritual demands of Christ our Savior.
I don’t want to be like that! I really don’t. I want Christ to be first in my life. I want HIM to come before my service to Him, my service to others, my job, my family, and most of all I want to place Him before my "self". I believe that is what the Bible calls me to do. For when I put Him first and follow in His steps, then everything else falls into its proper place.
And this is why I am so grateful for Christian friends who want to hear what I am learning through my study of the Word and who want to share with me what they are learning and how they are applying it in their lives. Today I am particularly grateful for two women whom I consider gracious gifts from God in my life. I met them both through Disciplers, but I have never met either one in person. The first, Angela, lights up my world and encourages me through emails and posts on her Facebook page which reveal her heart and her careful, thoughtful walk with the God she honors, follows, and obeys. The second, Betty, inspires and exhorts me through her faithfulness and her blog, Prayerlogue. I learn something new and applicable to my life every time I go there to read. If you haven’t read our March 1 blog, it is written by Betty on the Abundant Life. I hope you will check that out!
Remember the Scripture verse, Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17)? I believe that Betty and Angela are sharpeners God has provided in my life. They keep me in the Word of God on a meaningful and dynamic level. They speak God’s truths and live God’s truths in a way that calls me to do the same. Both motivate me to live for Christ rather than live for myself.
Angela reminded me of the importance of that this week as she looked forward to our celebration of the resurrection of Christ. In a Facebook post, she talked about how the apostle Paul reminds us that, (Christ) died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:15). And there’s more: We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (Romans 6:4).
These words are vital and important to our Christian lives! As Angela writes, “We celebrate the fact that we follow Christ into death to self, just as He did! We also follow Christ into a Supernatural Life as we choose to die to our own earthly desires and live for His eternal ones.”
But don’t merely read those thoughts! Angela calls us to “ponder them” and realize that “because Jesus desires to prove to those around us that He is truly ALIVE He will allow us to often die in certain areas of our lives so that we can be examples of His Supernatural Life in us to others.” Do those around you believe that He is truly risen due to the life of Christ which they see rising in you as you die to yourself? Angela’s plea (and mine too) is, “Make it so, Lord Jesus, make it so!”
I also pray that God will send “sharpeners” like Betty and Angela into your life to keep your heart and mind focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and your true reason for being alive on this earth. And may you be a faithful “sharpener” in the lives of your family, neighbors, friends, and all within your sphere of influence as you die to self so the Supernatural Resurrection Life might shine in you and through you. I am convinced that is how God meant it to be!
Hello, I’m so glad you decided to check out our blog today because I have some special thoughts I want to share with you about the Greek word, “katapheugo” (pronounced kat-af-yoo’-go), which means “to flee away” or “to flee for refuge”.
I’m so glad you decided to visit our blog today because I am eager to introduce you to a new friend and sister-in-Christ I have met through Disciplers. She is a faithful woman of the Word and committed prayer warrior. I would love for you to get to know her too, so I will let Betty introduce herself and share her thoughts on “abundant life” with you.
“Hello, my name is Betty Newman. I am the co-teacher, along with Janet Franklin, of a Disciper’s group in the rural area of East Knox County, just east of Knoxville, Tennessee. We have study groups that meet on Monday nights and Tuesday mornings. I have been excited to get to know Suzie Klein via e-mail over the past few months. I truly believe that the Lord has brought us together in our love of His Word.
My husband Joe and I live on a farm that has been in his family since the late 1700’s. I’m a former business owner (custom framing and chair caning) but now my days revolve around Bible study, writing and being a farm wife (and all the multitude of things that entails! Oh, I could tell you stories!) We have 2 sons who are married to precious wives, one grandson, and another grandbaby due in October.
I have a blog (www.prayerlogue.wordpress.com) on which I post devotionals, meditations, Bible Studies and prayers. Most weeks I also post my message from our weekly Disciplers Bible study. I hope you enjoy this devotional.”
A friend of mine said, “I had someone ask me this: ‘Give me your definition, as a Christian, of “abundant life”.’ I’d appreciate hearing your take on that.”
I told her that she’d better be careful asking me a question like that… I’m the kind of person, that if you ask them what time it is, they’ll tell you how the watch is made! And so I set off (as my husband often jokes) “on a mission!”
I guess because I first latched onto the word “abundant” my mind immediately went to Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think…” And I began to think of abundant blessings, and about how abundantly blessed we are… but… not everyone is so blessed, and yet, they may have “abundant life.” Why is that?
Then I thought of John 10:10 “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” What kind of life is this? It’s not just being alive. It’s not just existing. It is also more than just a quality of life, for quality of life has an external connotation, and “abundant life” isn’t (just) external, though it sometimes is that. So, what kind of “life” can one have that is “abundant” if it doesn’t mean blessings?
The word translated as “life” here is “zoe”. The Complete Word Study Dictionary defines it as “an absolute sense for the source of all life.” It’s the same word for life as found in John 1:4 “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” and the same word describing the “tree of life” and the “book of life” in Revelation. And for Jesus to “come” that we would have the “absolute sense for the source of all life” and have it “abundantly” is “abundant life.” But still, how would one describe “abundant life?”
So, here’s the thing… life, in this regard, is like a dessert. Sometimes when we take a bite of a certain dessert we’ll say, “Ooooh, that’s rich!” What does that mean? It means… well… you know what it means! (I bet your mouth just watered!) You just taste it! You can’t tell by looking at the dessert that it’s going to be “rich”; you just know it when you partake of it! It is internal. It is determined by the ingredients. It is just the nature of the dessert that makes it “rich.”
And it is the nature of a life that makes it an “abundant life.” It’s like an old song says, “Richer, fuller, deep-er… Jesus’ love is sweet-er… Sweeter as the years go by.”
And that’s what “abundant life” is – the sweetness of knowing His love!
May the internal richness of God’s abundant love fill your heart and life today! “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” Amen!
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.