Springtime is a wonderful time of new life budding forth. Fresh new plants are springing up around old dead growth. New seeds sprout from previous mother plants that have withered and died. Bees that were silent all winter are now buzzing, signaling new life is about to be birthed. Birds have returned for the summer and the air is full of their joyous sounds.
Spring is truly a time of new beginnings.
Jesus came to bring about new change in the world. "I came to give you life, to give you life more abundantly." John 10:10.
What do we know about life? One way we can experience life is from what we see. What about a blind person? Life may be what they can hear. Or to a deaf person, life may be what they can touch and feel.
Was Jesus talking about life that the senses could experience, or a life that is not seen, heard or felt? Probably both.
Jesus did use so many examples of nature to teach us lessons in the spirit realm. Does the "life" Jesus is talking about in John 10:10 have anything to do with you or me?
Let's take a couple steps backward in this scripture. What was Jesus referring to before this bold statement of giving us abundant life? Jesus was talking about being the shepherd of the sheep and the gate by which the sheep would enter into his protection. He said there is a thief who tries to steal the sheep, but that Jesus' sheep only know the voice of their shepherd, Jesus.
Are you a sheep in Jesus' flock? Do you know his voice? How do we recognize Jesus' voice? This seems to be a prerequisite to experiencing "life in abundance" from Christ.
If there is a thief who wants to steal the experiencing of life from us, whose aim is to steal from us the potential God has for us in this life, to destroy the possibilities that life has to offer and whose only selfish purpose is to kill any hope of life from us so that our future is completely destroyed, who would willingly go off with that thief?
Unfortunately many people do choose the thief. In fact, Jesus says that many will go off with the thief because the way is easy and wide. Jesus says that only a few will find the narrow, difficult way that leads to eternal life. Why is it so?
Nicodemus was an older wise man, a Jewish leader who sought out Jesus in private council. Nicodemus wanted to know more about Jesus, but Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again to understand the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." John 3:6-8. Life as we know it in the flesh is passing away. We see it in ourselves. We see it in our surroundings. We even see it in nature. Look at the spruce trees as they pass away all around us. But the Spirit gives life.
I want to encourage everyone, especially the young people graduating soon: Let God be God in your lives. Give the Lord room to show you his power.
Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they who labor, labor in vain."
Ask the Lord to build you up from the bottom to the top. Seek change in your life from the things of the world that tear you down to the things of God that will build you up. Repentance is a good first step.
We do need to repent from our old sinful ways. Ask the Lord Jesus to show you the things that need to be changed, then ask the Lord to help you to submit to his workmanship in your life.
Next you will need to understand the blueprints of your life. That's the Bible. You need a full understanding of the scriptures, which only comes through diligent reading and study of God's word. Get into a good Bible study group. It is important to have a good group of believers to bounce things off. Iron sharpens iron.
If you are going to eat fruit from a tree, you first have to pick the fruit.
There is always a certain amount of work you will have to do in order to enjoy the fruits of the Lord. God expects us to do our part before he does his. Where the rubber meets the road is where the spirit of God takes hold of you and leads you into the life God had always intended for you to live.
Listen for the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen for him to say, "Go this way," or "Don't go that way." You can hear him if you will take the time to get all the old stuff out of your life and let the Lord fill you full to the brim with his awesome spirit, the Holy Spirit the spirit of truth.
Then and only then will you begin to experience what Jesus was talking about, "I have come to give you life, to give you life to the fullest!"
Being a Christian is an active experience. You will experience constant change. You will feel different and people will see the radiance of Christ in you. Most of all, you will experience a love for people that can only come from the Lord living in you.
Go now and enjoy seeing new life blooming all around you this spring. Let what you see be a reminder of the things going on in life that you don't see, and how abundant that life can be with Christ in your life.
Mark Conway is an evangelist living in Seward attending Seward Chapel. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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