Our Lord Jesus Christ said He came, “that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Yet how many Christians are truly living the abundant life our Savior promised?
We often walk through life carrying burdens of our past mistakes while constantly nursing the wounds someone gave us years prior. Those we might have wronged could have forgiven us, but we haven’t forgiven ourselves. We might think we’ve forgiven ourselves but we still carry bitterness and resentment and allow our inner voice to constantly fill our heads with the most horrible things. We can say things to ourselves that if any other person said them to us, we would walk away and never talk to them again. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
” ‘Come now, let us argue this out.’ says the LORD. ‘No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.’ ”
God is saying no matter what is in the past, you can have a better and brighter future if you come before His throne, humble yourself and ask for forgiveness. Ask for His help. All is takes is one tiny breath from God in your direction and everything can change.
Lack of forgiveness and harboring negative emotions is one thing that prevents us from the abundant life, but another serious obstacle to this promise is anger. I’ll never forget a piece of advice my parents taught me growing up, that they said one of the reasons they have such a great marriage is that they never go to sleep angry at each other. Guess where this great wisdom comes from?
” ‘Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.”
The world we live in is full of distractions and we have endless ways to drown out our own feelings and emotions. Most people choose to stuff their feelings down on the inside and try to cover them up with various addictions like work, food, TV, sex, drugs and alcohol. This is not the answer. If we don’t deal with such serious emotions, anger, bitterness and hatred can take root in our hearts and start to infect every area of our lives.
We must learn to forgive instead of harboring negative emotions. We must learn to give others grace and mercy as our Heavenly Father gives us.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others faults because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2).
We must receive, by faith, the gifts our Lord has promised us in His Word, and remember to cast our burdens on Him. When you are battle the expression of anger in our dealings with another person ask yourself, “Would I rather be right or would I rather be happy?”
When you struggle to extend forgiveness toward yourself and others remember the price Jesus paid for you on the cross at Calvary to bestow forgiveness. Then ask yourself if you have truly realized that your current burden or struggle was also nailed to that very same cross over 2,000 years ago? As Jesus said, “It is finished.”
What are you holding onto that keeps you from living an abundant life?