The Abundant Christian Life By Dr Charles Stanley
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Jesus said, “[Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Unfortunately, many Christians live only an adequate spiritual life, rather than an abundant one. Though they go through the motions of being “good Christians,” they do not enjoy the power, peace, and joy that God intends believers to experience. To them, Christianity feels more like a burden than a source of delight and comfort, and habitual sins hold them in bondage.
Letting Christ Live Through You
When we received God’s gift of salvation, the Spirit of Jesus— also known as the Holy Spirit—came to live within us (Rom. 8:9).
What does the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life guarantee (Eph. 1:13-14)?
One of the Spirit’s roles is to manifest the presence of Christ through our lives. In other words, He helps us think, act, and react as Jesus would. As we develop in relationship with the Lord, we grow in our ability to allow Him to live through us. This means that our success as believers isn’t dependent on our ability to follow rules or rituals. Instead, the secret is to humbly let Jesus work in and through us.
Can you relate to seeing your faith as a burden—a set of duties and religious customs? Explain.
Do you ever feel frustrated at your inability to overcome certain sins in your life?
The flesh is that part of us that wants to rebel against God. Do you see fruit of the flesh in your life? (See Gal. 5:19-21.)
Read about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Which qualities mark your life on a consistent basis (Gal. 5:22)?
The concept of allowing Christ to live through us is stated in different ways throughout the New Testament. In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul puts it this way: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Paul knew that to have spiritual victory, He had to be “crucified with Christ” and let go of the right to run his own life. He didn’t have the power to be a holy person in His own strength. But as he surrendered to Jesus and lived by faith, Paul found the power to live a righteous, confident, joyful life. The spiritual principles that gave him success are no different for us today.
Have you ever surrendered control of your life to God? If so, describe what prompted that decision.
Why do many believers never learn to rely on Christ’s power for holy living?
What beliefs or distractions have the potential to interfere with your dependence upon Jesus?
Paul also wrote, “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
Explain what he meant. (See verses 22-23 if necessary.)
Can you relate to both parts of the statement in Philippians 1:21? Why or why not?
The Next Step
If you feel compelled to let Christ live through you, pray the following:
1. Confess your inadequacy. Acknowledge that you have tried to be a godly person but feel spiritually frustrated or defeated.
2. Acknowledge that Christ is sufficient. Since He is God, He can give you wisdom for every decision and strength to overcome temptation and adversity.
3. Abandon your life to Him. You must give Him permission to live His life through you. Let go of your own efforts to “be good enough” or “do enough” to please Him.
4. Confess it to be true. Say out loud, “Jesus, please live through me. I yield myself to Your will. Help me remember that I am now dead to sin and alive in You.” This is not a one-time commitment; you will probably have to surrender multiple times in your life. When you fail, be reminded that you cannot live a holy life apart from the Lord’s power.
Name a specific situation in which you need God’s help to react righteously and wisely, and then commit it to the Lord in prayer.
Closing: God does not call you to endure a tolerable Christian life—He wants it to be extraordinary. Experience the life He has planned for you—yield control of your life to Him, and stop trying to be righteous in your own strength. Trust Jesus to live through you. By guiding and empowering you, He will take care of all your troubles.
Prayer: If you did not already do so, pray through the steps above. Even if you made a similar commitment in a previous season of life, it can be helpful to reaffirm your reliance on Christ’s power for daily living.
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