June 27, 2018

 “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10a).

She approached me at the end of the class. I had just finished explaining the four Spiritual Paradigms and the characteristics of the residents of each paradigm and why only the residents of Spiritual Paradigm II-B experience walking with God.

The lady, a visitor, had come with her daughter and son-in-law who were members of the class and regular attendees. I felt confident the lesson material was instructive and challenging and my presentation adequate. So, her comment: “I’ve been a Christian for forty years, and nothing has happened in my spiritual life during that time.” Her statement was surprising, but not shocking.

For many Christians, the journey from the Cross to daily living does not include the Abundant Life Jesus promised in John 10:10. Stepping out in faith, Believers receive Eternal Life, but many fail to experience the abundant life. It’s this dimension of walking with God that is missing in many Christian lives.

All around us are perplexed Believers who, at some point in the past, realized their alienation from God, readily confessed their sins and excitedly accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Following baptism, they expected to live the abundant life. But on the journey from the cross to everyday life, something happened. The journey that began as a mountaintop experience quickly became a valley-type existence. The excitement waned; the “power” dissipated; anxiety and worry replaced peace and happiness. The building blocks of a new life replaced by the stumbling blocks of everyday reality.

Frustrated and disappointed these Christians fail to understand Jesus’ definition of the abundant life. Many misguided people equate abundance with possession and privileges. They expect to live a blessed life, free from sickness, heartache, frustration and worry. They hope to be financially secure, living a life of ease. Jesus promised neither. But He did provide the way for obtaining the abundant life, as He defines it.

In accepting Jesus as Savior, we receive “life”—our eternal existence with the Father. In accepting Jesus’ Lordship, we live the abundant life and achieve the goal of this life—a walk with God!

So much for the frustration felt by many fellow believers, what about you? You expected more: peace, happiness, joy, love, and fulfillment. But you’re frustrated, disillusioned, and spiritually ineffective. The present 24 hours seem like the past 24 hours. The current week is like last week and the week before and the week before that. The “new” person is the “old” person, and the “new” behavior recycled “old” behavior. There’s no new wine in new wineskins, only old wine in old wineskins.

Still, on occasion, the “light” does burn through the spiritual smog. You feel great, optimistic; like a new person—born again. You do a good deed; share a word of encouragement; read your Bible; give to a good cause. During these rare moments, you believe there has been a change in your life; something did happen.

The key to spiritual malaise lies in the little three-letter word “did.” For many Christians, their spiritual resume’ consists of one past event— a time when they did believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. That salvation moment could be anywhere from six months ago to six years to forty-six years ago. It did happen! But, nothing has happened since. (Continued July 4, 2018)