Too many Christians live in a state of nagging angst, longing to experience the abundant life spoken of by Jesus in John 10:10. They reach intermittent high points of victory along their Christian walk but frequently exist in emotional and spiritual doldrums. They are missing the inner joy and fulfillment they long for.
When we consider those who have fulfilled a God-ordained destiny, such as a Mother Teresa or a Billy Graham, it is tempting to assume that some divine force field dropped over them that protected them from emotional and spiritual fluctuations. The truth is that usually we see only the high points in the lives of these disciples of Christ. We are not privy to the behind-the-scenes struggles they faced as they lived out their calling. Hidden from our eyes are their Gethsemane’s, when they chose to lay aside their own desires to submit fully to God’s will.
Matthew 6:33 reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (NKJV) The last thing the enemy of our soul wants is for us to grasp fully the connection between first living a discipled life submitted to God and experiencing the abundant life. He does not want us to make the daily sacrifices necessary to follow Christ faithfully and without compromise. He waves earthly pleasures before us and goads us with our own desires for gratification until the goal of kingdom life is a hazy blur.
Sally Hill, author of Living from the Life of Christ, says, “To be a disciple is to be devoted to Jesus Christ in total abandonment to His purposes for your life.” Discipleship requires that we be willing to subvert our own desires and inclinations to God’s way of doing things. Romans 14:17-18 tells us, “...for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (NKJV) When we make the daily choices to live God’s way in front of God and man, we are true disciples. This is the kingdom life, which is the abundant life Christ promised.
~ Laura Allen Nonemaker