Leading Life Abundantly
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21 KJV).
I have talked to many men that have expressed an inner emptiness. Life is boring and seems to have no real purpose. Many of these men are very successful businessmen and want for no material items. It would be somewhat trite to say all they need is some Jesus. Indeed, Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). I believe that for a person to lead a fulfilled life you must live in God’s power. 1 Cor. 4:20 teaches us, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” So, how do we access this power?
1. First, we must realize that God is God and we are not. His ways are perfect, and He desires nothing but good for us. We tend to trust ourselves and make decisions without prayerful consideration of His will. However, we tend to only trust ourselves or maybe our spouse or a friend. Yes, God can and does speak through others and we should seek counsel from both. However, we eventually must choose who will we follow – ourselves or God. Psalm 118:8 is a favorite scripture of mine. “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” People will let you down. God never will. We may not always understand His ways, but we love and trust Him.
2. In order to tap into the power of the kingdom, we must first seek it. Matthew 6:33 encourages us to, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” So, how do we seek God? “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). We seek with all of our heart when we give our lives to Him. God will not bless self-reliant people. You may be financially successful and self-reliant, but recall the inner emptiness I talked about earlier? God blesses those that are dependent upon him and surrendered to Him. Matthew 5:5-9 tells us exactly who are blessed.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).”
3. The power of the kingdom comes from a direct relationship with God. We can cultivate that relationship by prayer and listening, studying Holy Scripture and discussing it with fellow Christians in small groups to gain a deeper understanding, worship, and talking and praying for and with your pastor. Each day strap on the Armor of God! “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:10-11). Note the reference to “His mighty power.” The Apostle Paul describes the full armor in subsequent verses.
Prayer: Dear Father, Thank you for the opportunity to live life abundantly. Thank you for providing the path to do so. Please keep us on the path. We yearn for living water and to see Your face. Help us to seek first Your kingdom and righteousness. Amen.
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.