12 Secrets for Abundant Living
This week we are continuing in our series for the New Year - 12 secrets for abundant living. Remember that this whole series is based on 3 very important principles.
1. God has a plan for your life - Jeremiah 29:11 says “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
2. There is a battle engaged for your life - Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
3. Too many of God’s people are losing the battle - Marriages, children, finances, life. Matthew 9:36 - “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
The first secret to living this abundant life was answering 4 of life’s most important questions. Who are you? What are you? Where are you? What do you really want? (If you miss a week of this and want to keep up - tapes are available - see JR)
Today I want to keep us moving through these ideas so let’s get to secret number two.
1) Own It - This is perhaps the most counter culture idea that I am going to share with you during this series. I want you to understand that to move into the life of abundance that God wants for you, you have to own it. Own what? Own you. We live in a world that says failure is someone else’s fault. My pain, my failure, my hardship is all someone else’s fault. If my behavior is bad it’s because you didn’t do enough to make me better. Well here’s the hard part for you - Owning it means taking responsibility for your life. It means waking up and realizing “I am where I am because of the choices I have made.” I want you to understand that I am not saying that other people’s sins don’t affect our lives. The things that other people do can make our journey much harder - but ultimately you must understand that no one is responsible for you but you. To do otherwise is to make yourself a perpetual victim and give unlimited power to the person who persecuted you. Understand that God is on your side - and with Him all things are possible. In John chapter 5 - Jesus stands in Jerusalem by the pool of Bethesda and looks down at a man who has been sick for 38 years. He asks him a simple question “Do you want to get well?” He starts making excuses. The question that faces each of you this morning is simple - “Do you want to get well?” Do you want to be what God made you to be? Do you want to live in abundance? Then own it. The only person who can stop you from becoming what God wants you to be is You. The only person who will stand before God and give an account for your life is you! Own it!
2) Embrace Positive Change - The third secret to abundant living is embrace positive change. Jesus asks the man at the pool “Do you want to get well?” The truth is not all of us want to find abundant living. Oh we like it as a concept but when the rubber meets the road we just aren’t that interested. You see
Sometimes it’s easier to be a victim than to be whole – Takes work, change, commitment, discipline, energy.
Sometimes being a victim becomes an excuse for not trying – instead of being an encouragement to try. – Excuse Not To Try
Sometimes being a victim gets us attention – people pay attention to us, show us they care
This idea of positive change always reminds me of the parable that Jesus tells about the prodigal son in Luke 15. You know the story. The life of this young man changes when Jesus says “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!” You know I learned from Brian Hackman a truism of life “We change when the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change.” You see the pig pen we know is better than the home that we don’t know. It’s easier to stay in the pig pen that we know than to risk the change. When will we come to our senses and understand that anything less than God’s best for us is slop. How many of us need to understand that it’s better to be a slave in the Fathers house than eating the slop of the world? I say we need change but notice that I said positive change. All change is not positive. The young man could have decided that it was better to be a thief than to work with the pigs. That would not have been positive. But the change that he made was a positive one - ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men. It’s then that the blessing begins - God only needed his cooperation - from that point it was a ring and a robe. God’s blessing began to flow. Folks are you living in God’s abundance? The essence of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s time to try a new approach.
We will talk more about positive change and how to achieve it next week but for today it’s enough to come to grips with the idea of owning our lives (taking responsibility for who and what we are) and coming to our senses and returning to the plan of God. Does your marriage need to come to it’s senses? How about your parenting? How about your living and life patterns? How about your choices?