Abundant Spiritual Life
  By Rich Carmicheal

    If you are a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have a high and noble calling. God has called you by His own glory and excellence (2 Pet. 1:3) to His eternal glory in Christ (1 Pet. 5:10). You have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19) who bore your sins in His body on the Cross, that you might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). You have been born again of imperishable seed through the living and abiding Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23). God has chosen you as His "…own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9).

    You are now a steward of the manifold grace of God, and you are to serve others with the strength He provides so that in all things He may be glorified (1 Pet. 4:10-11). You are to abstain from fleshly lusts and keep your behavior excellent among the lost so that they may see your good deeds and glorify God (1 Pet. 2:11-12). Like the Holy One who called you, you are to be holy (1 Pet. 1:15), and you are to live the rest of your life for His will (1 Pet. 4:2).

    In other words, the Lord has great purposes for your life! Everything about your life is to bring glory to Him. Others are to see in you His mercy, His light, His righteousness, His love, His strength and His grace. They are to see in you a transformed life, a life of reverence for the Lord and a life of spiritual abundance.

    How does your life and ministry measure up to such a glorious calling? Is your life overflowing with the life of God? If you see the need for more spiritual fullness in your life and service, I call your attention to these encouraging words by the Apostle Peter: "...His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature..." (2 Pet. 1:3-4).

The Power of God’s Power

    One of the truths embedded in this passage is that the Lord, through His divine power, has already granted to us everything we need for life and godliness. I once heard a story that illustrates this significant truth. Before a church service, a pastor gave all his savings to a man in his congregation who was known not as a generous man, but a stingy one. As I recall, the amount was about $300, a great deal of money for that congregation. He told the man that during the service he (the pastor) would share with the congregation that he had the need of $300 and that he knew there was someone in the congregation with $300 cash to give to him. The man was then to stand up, and with enthusiasm declare that he had the money and make his way forward to give the money to the pastor.

    When the time came, the pastor announced the need, and to everyone’s shock, the man with the reputation of being stingy jumped up, excitedly proclaimed that he had the money, and then ran forward and gave the money to the pastor. With the congregation still in amazement, the pastor began to share with them about how he had arranged the whole episode. He was only asking the man for what he had already equipped him to give.

    And such is the case with how the Lord works in our lives. He only asks us to be what He has already made possible for us to be, and to do what He has already made possible for us to do. And because of the surpassing greatness of His power at work within us, we have incredible potential for spiritual fullness. We can work out our salvation with fear and trembling because God is at work in us (Phil. 2:12-13).

    In other words, as we think of the possibilities for spiritual fullness in our lives, we have to think in terms of who the Lord is, and what He is capable of doing in and through us. If our life is to be determined only by who we are, then we do not have much to hope for. But if our life is determined by who the Lord is, then our hope has no limit. Our potential is His character, His righteousness, His life, His love and His victory. The more we grow in our knowledge of Him through His Word and through an ever-deepening personal relationship with Him, the more we will understand all that He desires to do and is able to do in and through us. The standard and potential for our life and ministry is "His glory and excellence" and His divine power.

The Power of God’s Promises

    The Lord also gives us His "precious and magnificent promises" so that by them we may live godly lives. His Word is filled with His promises, and since He is faithful, we can absolutely trust His promises.

    This is true even if a situation covered by one of His promises looks impossible. Consider, for example, the way Abraham held on in faith to the promise of God in a seemingly impossible situation: "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised" (Rom. 4:18-21). And that is the key – God has the power to do what He has promised! No matter what our circumstances may be, God has the power to fulfill the promises He has made to us. He is not limited by our circumstances, but is "the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17). With Him all things are possible! (Matt. 19:26).

    One of the precious promises of the Lord is "the promise of life in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 1:1). Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). He wants us to overflow with spiritual life, love and joy, and to this end He says that if we believe in Him, then out of our "innermost being shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). He says this in reference to the Holy Spirit, the gift His Father promised (Acts 1:4). Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost shows how far-reaching the promise of the Spirit is: "...For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself" (Acts 2:39). That promise has reached all the way to us, so that we also "receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14).

    Our lives can overflow with spiritual abundance because the Holy Spirit within us is "the Spirit of life" (Rom. 8:2). His presence produces the life of God in us, and His fruit in our lives is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23). He is also "the Spirit of holiness" (Rom. 1:4), and He works in our hearts to transform us into the likeness of the Lord with ever-increasing glory (2 Cor. 3:3, 17-18). The Lord wants our lives to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), and He is very generous to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13). If you are lacking spiritual fullness, embrace the promise of the Spirit, and ask the Lord to fill your life with His Spirit!

    Another of the Lord’s magnificent promises is the promise that Jesus is coming again! Even though the return of Christ may seem delayed, the Apostle Peter writes that "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). The Lord’s patience is salvation (3:15), and as we wait in anticipation of Christ’s return, we are to be "diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless" (3:14). We are to "…deny ungodliness and worldly desires and…live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" as we look "for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus"! (Titus 2:12-13).

    Of course, there are many other wonderful promises in God’s Word that encourage us and help us live according to our calling, such as: "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (Jas. 1:12); "…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…" (Isa. 40:31); "The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17). The more we know and embrace the many promises of the Lord, the more He will work through them in our lives.

When God Draws Near

    I leave you with one final promise from God’s Word: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (Jas. 4:8). When the Lord draws near to us, He comes with all of His love, all of His grace, all of His power and all of His holiness because these are integral to who He is. He wants our lives and service to overflow with His life, and He Himself is the key to such spiritual abundance. Draw near to Him.