May 6, 2011

Living Life to the Full

Life is short, it is a gift. Living it fully and with peace, and joy is not only possible it is effortless. Many are looking and longing to find it. Why does it seem like it is always just out of reach? Perhaps there are days when we seem to have the peace the joy we lack, but then like a tire with a hole in it we are flat yet again. By God's grace, I have found a simple way of living life that has given me life and  life more abundant on a regular day to day baisis. The simplicity of it and the joy it brings is just too good not to share. But how? I have been troubling over this, but recently I have found an author who can help me put into words what God has shown me. In this author's writings I have found wonderful words to describe the message and the truth I stumbled upon...or to be more accurate which God lovingly led me to by His compassion and grace.

Michael Wells wrote Sidetracked in the Wilderness 2002 in response to a call from God to encourage defeated Christians. It was only after he had experienced his own failure, defeat and frustration that he discovered again what he had had from the beginning, when he first knew Christ, was after all enough.

Have you ever asked these questions to yourself or perhaps to others?

“Why is it that Christianity is so difficult for me? Why is it that I strive for years to attain spirituality through a sequence of methodologies, programs and techniques; and when blueprints of success fail, I end up give up and resign myself to a life of mediocrity, frustration, and regression? Is this the abundant life of which my Lord spoke? Did he speak of a life of defeat, turmoil, self-effort, endless entreaties for joy, and bondage to emotions, thoughts, and sinful behaviors for all who would dare to call upon his name? Was the life that He came to give characterized by conflict in families, endless trips to counselors, and depression so deep that I wish to be taken out of this life in order to gain some measure of relief? I fear this is the prevalent Christian life for many of us.” Pg 13

I have. these questions could very well have come from my own lips. For years I lived these questions, sought answers and found none that lasted. In desperation I clung to a hope that what Jesus had said about a life more abundant was faith though small was battered and then redirected.

“One key word that would describe the Christian community around the world is change. We want to change what we are, what we do, and our circumstance so we can be acceptable to God.” Pg 14

Are you seeking change? Is there fear pushing you to do more? Are you frustrated with defeat?

“If it is so simple to live a defeated life, would it not be good news that it is equally easy to live a victorious life? What is the answer? It will be found in the simplicity of the Gospel (good news) a simplicity that has been lost in the shuffle of programs, methods, and how-to lists, all symptoms of unbelief! The answer is not something we must do but rather something that we must believe! The great secret of success is that Christian growth is simply accepting what we have always had from the beginning, from the first day we gave our lives to Christ!” pg 14

On that first day, I heard/read what Jesus said, I believed him. Then I got lost, then I was found again. Today I am doing what I did in the beginning. Irreguardless if I feel it, know it can be possible, or like it, I have decided to believe him and begin there. I used to read my Bible for encouragment and inspiration. I looked for the words to relate to my life and touch me, or at best make sense. But I have found a new freedom and simplicty in reading the Bible to hear what IT says...then obey it. I begin my days often thinking this....God you I am going to believe it, now, how would I live my day today if that was true. Then I live as is if it is true, because it is. As I walk in it I find it shows itself to be true, even though often I begin not knowing for sure.

"How then do I experience this abundant life to the full? How do I discover a life free from sin? And how can it be mine without effort? God’s answer is specifically designed to be within the grasp of the weak, the failures, the unacceptable, the ignorant, the frustrated, and the hopeless. The answer is the simplicity of the abiding life.” Pg 15

God is not partial to persons, he accepts your faith even if it is simply to say, "God help me to trust you today."

“God’s answer for abundant life will always be unbelievably simple: The Christian must learn to believe and receive its simplicity. His answers require faith…faith we may not know we possess…not great talent, ability, or intellect. The problem is not that God places on us a great and difficult task to perform in order to experience His peace, rest, and joy. On the contrary, the problem is that we place on ourselves these great tasks and set for ourselves a standard of acceptance that is higher than God’s….God’s answer is simple, but often in order for Him to bring us to a place of accepting it, He must first put us through a series of courses that will exhaust us, leaving us despairing of self and others and prepared to listen to whatever God says with a believing heart. It is not until we refuse to trust ourselves that we will begin to trust God.” Pg 15

In Lost in the Wilderness you will not find another to do list. Nor will Mr. Wells reveal a method you can follow to be assured of victory. In fact he will give you nothing new to do since the way to living life to the full rests completely on what Christ has done. He will not provide principles you can follow but a person, who is alive today, who lives in anyone who believes and who is always present, and will do it all for you.

“So, now climb into the Father’s arms; let him carry you along the steps He has designed. All of your suffering is for a purpose, and though you do not see God’s hand in it now, you will! And when you see where he has taken you, you will break forth in praise! "pg 16

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in the mother's womb, so you can not understand the work of God, the maker of all things." (Ecc 11:5)

"But, I am afraid, lest as the serpent decieved Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." (2 Cor 11:3)

“Father, we trust you to take us back to the simplicity of faith, the simplicity that made Abraham so pleasing to you, the simplicity that filled Your Son’s life with joy, peace and abundance unspeakable.”

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