The Abundant Life: Riches money can’t buy…
The abundant life takes a little effort.
Christians know they are saved by grace, not by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Salvation is a free gift from God. If we could earn salvation, we wouldn’t need God to give it to us. And if we could earn it, we would definitely take all the credit. We would boast about how great we are. There are no “work-oriented” requirements we must meet to assure forgiveness. There are no check-lists of dos and don’ts that will make God love us more.
However, we are admonished to integrate Christian principles into our lives. Why? So we can gain wisdom. (Matthew 7:24) So we can be happy. (John 13:17) So we can be constantly reminded of our identity in Christ and not forget who we are. (James 1:22-23) So we can be blessed. (James 1:24) So we can live an abundant life!
Integrating Christian principles into our lives helps us live the abundant life. Of course, this takes effort on our part. Paul said that mature Christians have “trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” by constant use of what they have learned. (Hebrews 5:14 NIV) Timothy was told to train himself in godliness. (1 Timothy 4:7) In other words, we need to train ourselves to consciously and consistently use what we’ve learned. Use it or lose it. God will not automatically give us good habits or self-discipline. God will not force moral character upon us. We get these things by actively practicing the Christian principles we’ve been taught so we can be a reflection of Jesus Christ.
Paul said, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice.” (Philippians 4:9 NIV) Practice, practice, practice… They say practice makes perfect. I’m not sure perfection is the goal. I lean more towards making progress which seems more attainable. The more we practice Christian principles, the more progress we will make and the more abundant our lives will be.
“…I have come that they may have life and that they
may have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10 (KJV)