"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Living Life “Abundantly”
Working in the field of criminal justice has it fair share of excitement as well as disappointments. Those disappointments are one of the main reasons why many individuals do not make a career out of the field. I have been in this field for several years now. At the moment, I work in a facility where we often send young men home from being locked up to half-way houses and so forth. One thing we know for sure is that many of these young people often wind up in the situation that they were in because they had to look out for themselves. Many were born into tough parental situations and some have no parents at all. Many young people are fortunate to have a responsible grandparent or aunt to look after them, while some wind up staying with associates or in the streets. Some kids steal to get by, others rob and sell drugs. While there will never be a permanent solution until the return of the Lord, the situation is surely dire as more resources are really needed to help curve this problem.
More Than Breaking Free
What I want these young men to understand is that as they are preparing to leave, I understand that they can survive back in the streets. Going back to that lifestyle of taking what is needed rather than earning is always a huge risk. Unfortunately, many of them take that route earning themselves a long-term home back in the system of incarceration. They can survive in a world where they are experienced at getting by, but just getting by is not what they should do. The question is not if they can survive, but rather what will be the quality of their survival? Are they living a quality life or are they just living a life? What makes our life worth living is not just whether we are breathing, but also what we are doing and experiencing while we are still breathing. Decisions are made in hospitals daily based on quality of life. Family members have to make tough decisions by trying to think for their spouse the best they can by judging if the circumstances that patient faces are worth living through or not. John 10:10 tells us that, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Having life “abundantly” has way more meaning and purpose than to just have life. Having life “abundantly” means more than just living in bondage. Living life “abundantly” means breaking free of those chains and burdens (Romans 6:18).
More Than Average
As free folk, we stand back and judge those who have had to make great sacrifice just to survive. We can assume that every person who is locked in a jail cell earned their way to their captivity. Perhaps many of us have never been placed in a situation where we had to choose between starvation and freedom. Of course there are those who choose to commit to a lifestyle of illegal activity even though there are other feasible routes, but aren’t we guilty of the same when we are presented with an opportunity to be more instead of settling for less? Does God not give us the freedom to break free from the bondage of limits, providing us with a path of grace and mercy that leaves nothing impossible (Luke 1:37)? By remaining where we are, far away from the burning conviction of God, we squander away our “abundant” life in exchange for mediocracy. Henry David Thoreau is credited with saying, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them.” God has planted a unique and Gospel centered song in each one of us and all we have to do is sing it! Does God now already own the breath that was first breathed into the lungs of Adam at his creation? Speaking of what God owns, this brings me to my next point.
An Abundant Steward
Even being a good steward requires us have an “abundant” life. When we examine the Parable of the Talents we can see how God bestows upon us set resources, property, and gifts among many other things. Part of those gifts is the time we have here in this world to make an impact for the Kingdom of God. God wants to see us using our time, energy, and resources wisely. Are we living life “more abundantly” or are we squandering our time away by concerning ourselves with the things that do not matter. Worrying about what could happen will most likely never matter. This is why the Word advises us against worry and stress. Worrying, hatred, envy, and all these irrational focuses only waste the precious time and gifts that God has given us for such a time as this. There even be things we enjoy that waste time and precious resources, which may not be in our best interest. Of course we all sometimes need a break, but too much of anything is no good for the body nor the soul. Use your “abundantly” given resources wisely.
Since God has called us out and required more than ordinary from us, we must do something significant with our life! Living life “abundantly” means living life to our full potential. Whatever our calling and whatever our path in life, we should always strive to be the best at it. Not all of us were given the genetics and talent to shoot, throw, or kick a ball which insured an end to our athletic careers. What we can do however, is be the best employee, best business owner, best example of Christ that we can be by living to our full potential. I don’t like using myself as an example due to this ministry not being about me, but because I allowed God to use me the last couple of years, He has taken me to new heights in my life that I never thought were possible. While working full-time, being a husband, a father, and running an online ministry, I am two courses away from completing my master’s degree. In the meantime, I have also been blessed with a job that makes a difference. What I thought would never be possible at times, has been proven wrong once again by the God of all Creation. Because my family and I had the faith of a mustard seed, sowing in our effort and time, God has provided “abundantly.” God didn’t just call us to be followers, but He commanded us to expect to be vessels used for His glory. First and foremost, we are called to be disciples and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). God only works in “abundance” as He shows by the methods He has ordered us to duplicate by discipleship. It is for this reason that we must understand this “abundance” mindset and faith, applying it to every area of our lives daily. I pray that this message has given you reason to place your faith and trust in God, in order that you may live life more “abundantly” every day. Come back soon and God Bless!
John 10:10 (KJV)
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Luke 1:37 (KJV)
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Romans 6:18 (KJV)
“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
Matthew 28:19 (KJV)
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”