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Living a Full Life

In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The context of John 10 lets us know that fullness is the outcome of following Jesus as verse 3 states: “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” When we trust that kind of a leader, we obey Him. Obedience spawns holiness and, as a result, we produce the fruit of the Spirit. Even in the midst of disaster, trials and troubles, the full life of being loving, kind, patient, joyful, gentle and all the other aspects of abiding can be ours.

Jesus identifies in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 what blessedness is: being poor in spirit, mourning, meekness, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, all things that don’t line up with a trouble-free life. The Apostle Paul added to the list with his example of being content regardless of circumstances (Philippians 4:11). Clearly, the full, abundant life is not dependent upon good circumstances but is a heart issue of responding to God in trust and love.

In contrast, the thief—Satan—aims to steal, kill and destroy. From the outset, Satan’s goal of destroying the perfection that Adam and Eve enjoyed was accomplished by an evil whisper that, “God is holding out on you. He doesn’t want your best. He isn’t really good.” When Adam and Eve believed those lies, their peace, joy, love and gentleness were destroyed. The full life they’d enjoyed was overtaken by blame-casting, selfishness and distrust of each other and God.

Whom to believe—the Good Shepherd or the lies of Satan—is the challenge you and I face each day.

Live Skillfully

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings…” – Proverbs 22:29

Too often, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing the same way over and over every day. But if we are going to live at our absolute best, we should constantly be growing and sharpening our skills. We should strive to learn and grow every single day because when you stop learning, you stop growing. When you stop growing, you stop living.

What are you doing to stretch yourself? What are you doing to improve your skills? Don’t get trapped into thinking that “good enough” is good enough. You were created for more than just average. Today is a new day, and there are new heights for you to climb. Pursue what you love and keep developing that area of your life. Take a class or find a mentor that will help you live skillfully. As you do, you’ll rise up higher and higher. You will stand before leaders and rulers, and you’ll live the blessed life God has in store for you!

He Holds You in His Hand

“Fear not, for I am with you…I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My right hand…” – Isaiah 41:10

We all face situations in life that feel out of control. During times like these, it’s easy to get discouraged and allow fear to creep in; but instead, why don’t you focus on the fact that God is holding you in the palm of His hand! There is nothing too difficult for Him; nothing’s impossible; nothing is beyond His ability. When God holds you in His hand, you are safe; you are cared for. In His hand, there is victory. In His hand, there is strength. In His hand, there is provision. In His hand is everything you need.

No matter what you may be going through today, you can trust that God is for you. Instead of getting down and depressed over your circumstances, look up and get a vision of God turning that situation around. Let faith arise in your heart and focus on His favor, promotion and blessing. As you keep your heart and mind focused on Him and choose to obey His Word, you’ll see those supernatural breaks that will launch you further ahead than you ever thought possible because He holds you with His victorious right hand!

Surviving Life’s White Water

“On that day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side'” (Mark 4:35). When Jesus says to His followers, “Let’s go across to the other side,” is there any doubt that they’re going to reach the other side? Of course not! They will reach the opposite shore, but between this side and that side, they will face the storm of their life.

Sometimes we may think that because Jesus says, “This is what I want you to do,” no problems will arise. A new believer sometimes feels, “Well, now that my life is committed to Christ, it’s going to be wonderful.” It is wonderful, but those who follow Jesus Christ are not exempt from the crises and white water of life—even when obeying Christ.

“Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was” (Mark 4:36). These experienced fishermen no doubt thought that crossing the sea was something they could handle: You want to go to the other side? We can get over to the other side. We’ve done this before. This is our area of expertise. We must constantly fight the urge to follow and serve Christ in our own strength. It is essential that we constantly rely on His grace and power in our life.

Look Straight Ahead

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you” – Proverbs 4:25

What are you looking at today? Not in the natural, but with your spiritual eyes. In other words, what is in the forefront of your mind and in your heart? Are you constantly dwelling on your problems or things that have happened in your past? In the natural, you will move in the direction that your eyes are looking. In the spiritual, it works the same way. Whatever you focus your mind and heart on, you will move toward. That’s why today’s verse tells us to look straight ahead. If you are constantly dwelling on your problems or things in your past, wondering “what if,” then you will stay right where you are. But if you choose to forgive and release the past, then you can focus on what is ahead of you, and you’ll begin to move forward.

God doesn’t want you to live in the past. He wants you to keep growing and moving forward. Make the decision to meditate on His goodness and focus on His promises. Look straight ahead so you can see His blessing and move forward into the life of victory He has promised you!