Weekly Thought – April 2, 2019
Fred particularly appreciated the writings of Paul. In his latter days he quoted the words from Romans 5 in which the Apostle said “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope.” He learned each day about the abundance of freedom in Christ. These thoughts of Fred’s will bring hope and encouragement.
During 2019 BWF is working on both www.breakfastwithfred.com and www.bwfli.com to bring new content, greater functionality, and ease of use. This project will enable us to further the reach, deepen the impact, and preserve the lifework of Fred Smith, Sr. Your prayer and financial support is greatly appreciated as we undertake this major effort.
Christ and the Abundant Life
Christ said: “I came to give you life, a abundant life.” I have been thinking about what abundant life really means. I certainly think the foundation is the purpose of Christ’s coming – to provide and assure us of eternal salvation. Too often we do not appreciate enough the abundance of our salvation. We are not even conscious of the true salvation. The richness of His grace will only be fully realized in heaven. There I will “see as I am seen, and know as I am known.” There I will understand the abundance.
Another aspect is freedom. Without Christ’s freedom we cannot do the things that abundant living calls for. Steve Brown calls it “scandalous freedom.” I like that. Too many run around claiming freedom and liberty when it is really just license and irresponsibility. The abundant life flows from true freedom.
I am convinced the third part of the abundant life is usefulness for Him and the Kingdom. Genuine usefulness and productivity comes from our acceptance of eternal life. Freedom is really a reaction to the love of God. We love because He loved us. We are helpful and useful because He loves us and creates a place of service for us.
An important aspect of abundance is joy. The Apostle Paul constantly referred to joy, especially in his prison letters. That is hard for us to understand. Too often we confuse happiness and ease with real joy. I think joy is founded on the love of God. When we think of His love it is a source of true joy, despite our condition – or even our spiritual maturity. This is the way I like to think of joy and happiness. One is a pleasing rain; the other is a deep well. The rain of happiness can be random and spasmodic; joy is an aquafer which provides an ongoing source.
I cannot define the abundant life without considering peace. This is not a common trait, especially in these days of upheaval and turmoil. As individuals in this world, we will have tribulation. The ability to have peace with acceptance and gratitude for suffering is the result of our loving God and knowing He loves us. It is the overflow of the abundant life.
The abundant life is relationship with God, ever hour in and with Him and His will. We hear people saying, “Now THIS is living – this is the good life.” They are speaking materialistically. They eagerly draw others to join in the race. Personally, I believe there is no financial component to the super abundant life in Christ. This authentic, genuine abundant life is about Him – His power, His peace, and His joy. I can say with assurance “Man, this is living – in whatever circumstances I find myself… housebound and bedbound, but HEAVENBOUND!”
This week think about: 1) How do I define the abundant life? 2) What is bringing me to spiritual maturity? 3) Who needs the encouragement of Fred’s words?
Words of Wisdom: “I can say with assurance ‘Man, this is living – in whatever circumstances I find myself… housebound and bedbound, but HEAVENBOUND!’”
Wisdom from the Word: “I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.” (Philippians 4:12 NET Bible)