Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Is greater effectiveness in attaining the abundant life possible?

There are several biblical principles that are quite familiar to any practicing Christian but I believe are seldom understood to a substantially beneficial degree. I have read hundreds of times Jesus' metaphor of the Vine and branches, illustrating the principle of Abiding in Christ; I can tell you much about it, but I'm afraid I do not do it well at all. This same familiarity applies to the concept of the Kingdom of God. Around 50 percent of the parables of Jesus describe in some sense this reality. Do I operate throughout life with any semblance of concern for such a reality, however? To name one example of thousands, do I get in my car and commute to work/school in such a way where I intentionally promote/advance the Kingdom of God, or is this concept (like Abiding) so ethereal - so intangible - that I simply understand on an elementary level, not at all living it out proactively?

This leads to the issue of self-evaluation. I trust the occasional examination of one's spiritual health is necessary, and albeit I am my own worst critic, I hunger for more growth, more godliness more often than not. All said and done, I look upon my life and fear what little progress I see toward maturity and obedience will be my condemnation.

Trust that even as I wrote this confession, I recall the mercy and faithfulness of God, and feel my words are more weighty than are accurate. Grace is radical acceptance, for which I am humbly grateful. I trust positionally, I am holy and blameless, in God's favor and secure. Practically, as I display holiness and godliness as an ambassador to Christ, I desire to do more. As a member of God's family, I desire more intimacy; I desire that that truth resonate and shape my life more than it does.

Now I have arrived at my proposition. It is not my own, but one I adopt as it aligns with Scripture.

What if the abundant life (marked by intimacy with God), is attainable if only we understood the principle of Abiding more clearly? What if Abiding was the key to our greatest concerns as Christians: to love God and others (Great Commandment), and to make disciples (Great Commission)? What if the Kingdom of God was here now - not just something to look forward to when Christ returns - but able to participate in now, as we grow in Christ-likeness? Could our bondage to the patterns of this world (Satan's reigning Kingdom marked by sin and death) truly be abolished in Christ, as He claimed He did? Could we experience significant freedom from sinful ways? Could living this freedom out in the world be what Jesus meant by us being salt and light to the world? Could we see a dramatic shift (and, in fact, participate in the cause) so that the world is controlled not by evil, but is submissive to God's righteous standard (cf. Ephesians 3:10)?

I want to explore these ideas. I want to test whether this is a forecast for how God intends to usher in the New Age, or if significant bondage and mediocrity are what we have to look forward to in this life. But mainly, I want (nay I need) help in learning how to abide in Christ. I need the Body of Christ (you fellow believers) in order to do this. Is this not just describing discipleship, an element to our faith so often left ambiguous on how to do it well?

If you are curious, passionate, confused, knowledgeable, etc. of such things as these, will you consider joining me to study and grow? I want to facilitate a Bible Study where your processing and interaction is just as important as any content I may compile and present.

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