The abundant life that Jesus promised seems far from reality some days. In contrast to the thief’s destructive ways, an abundant life is filled with hope and promise—two things that were in short supply for me in my mid-twenties. Instead of experiencing abundant peace and joy, what I most often found myself doing in those days, was boiling over in anger.
Thankfully, God has a rescue plan!
Not only does He “rescue us” and bring us to new life—eternal life (read more about that by clicking here), but God also gives us the opportunity to live an abundant and joy-filled, victorious life here and now.
Jesus describes it this way:
[box]“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)[/box]
Pulling Anger Out by its Roots!
I was a young bride when I first got really serious about “pulling that anger out by the roots,” and I’m not exaggerating, it was a huge challenge. I talked to people I respected, got input, and begged for help with my problem. Someone suggested that if I was serious about overcoming my anger, I should memorize, or at least regularly soak my mind and heart in, Romans chapters 6–8.
The process of diligently pouring the truths from these verses into my soul began to affect my behavior.
Memorizing Scripture isn’t enough to guarantee lasting victory, however it must also be an act of your will to choose to literally apply the truth you are memorizing in real life situations. The choosing to do that is an act of the will, but you can’t actually get victory through sheer will power. Applying Scripture effectively, for victory over sin, only happens when we access the grace and power of the Holy Spirit—and that comes from asking (spend some time in James 4:1–8 to see this principle).
Getting Back to Who We Were Created to Be ~
Once you enter into a relationship with God, He begins His restoration process. God is restoring His elect to their pre-fallen condition through a process called: sanctification. In other words, God is able to take the difficulties of our lives, the struggles, and also the blessings and use them in the process of “growing us up” and conforming us into the image of Christ:
[box]“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son . . .” (Romans 8:28–29).[/box]
Mankind was created in the image of God, but sin marred that holy, pure state. Man “fell short of the glory of God” when he disobeyed. This restorative work (sanctification) is designed to display the power of the gospel through transforming fallen men and women (this includes you and me!) into individuals whose lives bring glory to God.
Sanctification is a redemptive work of God that is occurring as we submit to the authority of God’s Word and apply His truth to our lives through the grace and power of His Holy Spirit.
If you’ve received new life in Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, you are a “new creation” – the old has “passed away.” But, like me, you may still struggle with old habits and sin issues like: anger, covetousness, gluttony, or ingratitude.
Like I said earlier, anger was a huge one for me. I would get angry, then I would vent that anger on a loved one, leaving them feeling hurt and rejected. I struggled and failed in the battle for years, but God delights in giving us victory over sinful anger.
Romans 8:13 gives us a key to overcoming sin:
[box]“If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body . . .”[/box]
We are to put to death our fleshly, sinful actions—by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do we kill sinful actions?
When you are tempted to give into rage, self-pity, jealousy, greed—cry out to God for His grace to overcome that temptation. Ask His Holy Spirit for the power to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. Ask God to give you greater love for Him.
When we love God more than our sin, we will have victory over that sin!
You must make the hard choice to submit your temptation to God and then humble yourself to obey His will. He will not force your obedience, but when you ask Him, He will give you the grace and power to obey (Have you read that passage in James 4:1–8 yet?).
Finally, God’s work of redemption will one day be complete as we reach a state of glorification. Even the present heavens and earth will one day be completely redeemed (2 Peter 3:10-13).
You might think of it this way:
- Salvation is the deliverance from the penalty of sin.
- Sanctification is the process of overcoming the power of sin.
- Glorification is the complete and final deliverance from the presence of sin.
This is the comprehensive work of redemption throughout the life of a believer.
Spend some time meditating on Ephesians 1:7-14 and ask God to give you a fuller understanding of His complete work of redemption. Ask Him to open your eyes to your spiritual need and His provision.
Let’s pray for each other today:
Father, would you allow us to see You at work in our lives, bringing the transformation we so desperately need? Please give us Your grace to apply ourselves to the hard work of dying to sinful desires and embracing Your will for our lives. Give us sensitivity to Your Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin and remind us to cry out for Your grace to overcome the temptation. Grant us the hope found in the surpassing greatness of Your power toward us who believe.
I pray that we will showcase the beauty of Your transforming power in our lives in a way that will cause others to see You in us!
And one more thing, I hope you’re sharing God’s “rescue plan” with others. You can send this post out to them as a way to let them know how they can have the abundant life that Jesus promised or Friday’s post to give them the good news of how to have a relationship with God. It could be your Easter gift to them ~