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The Open Door

 

As our convention focuses upon spiritual renewal throughout 2013, we do so in order to be certain that our hearts are in tune with the heart of God. The only way we will ever be able to have a spiritual impact upon Georgia is if our hearts are rightly related to the Lord.

Only then will we be able to communicate the Gospel and what it means in an effective way. We seek spiritual renewal for what it will mean to us, but I think more important than that is the fact that being in a condition of spiritual renewal will allow us to be a blessing to others.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” Jesus spoke these words in the context of being The Good Shepherd. Sheep that have a good and watchful shepherd instinctively know that they are being well cared for. Jesus reminds us that a good shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep.

In this passage Jesus says that He is laying down His life for the sheep. He is doing it voluntarily. No one is taking His life from Him. He is willingly laying down His life for the sheep. Speaking as one of the sheep, I am very grateful, aren’t you?

It is always amazing to me to see a Christian who clearly is not enjoying the abundant life that Jesus gave His life to provide. These are the folks who, though they claim to be Christians and are members of the church, never seem to have any joy. They seem to never have a kind word to say. They are negative and critical. They grumble about first one thing and then the other.

We seek spiritual renewal for what it will mean to us, but I think more important than that is the fact that being in a condition of spiritual renewal will allow us to be a blessing to others.

You cannot satisfy a person like this. They will never be happy with you because they are not happy with themselves. They should possess an abundant life because Jesus Christ died to save them, but they fail to reflect that fact in their words and actions.

Maybe you are thinking, “Sure I could be a happier, more joyful person if I could just get on top of my problems. I just can’t seem to solve my many challenges.” Perhaps these two verses will help. Ephesians 1:19-20 says, “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”

You may need to do what I did and go back and read that passage several times until it begins to sink in. I am convicted that none of us have anything to complain about when we realize that the same power that God used to raise His Son from the grave is the power that He makes available to His church to overcome those things that might hinder our having the abundant life.

Just think what a transformation would occur in Georgia today if every Christian, regardless of denomination, began living his or her life in such a way that the abundant life Jesus was talking about became a visible reality for all the world to see. I can’t be responsible for your happiness any more than I would expect you to be responsible for my happiness. As Christians, our joy is in our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual renewal at the very least means I am happy in Jesus. It doesn’t mean that challenges won’t come, they always do. It means we will have all we need in Christ to live the abundant life in spite of everything else.

In Matthew 6:24-27 Jesus speaks of the wise man and the foolish man. You will remember that the wise man built his house upon the rock and the foolish man built his house on the sand. Then Jesus said, the storms came and beat upon those houses and the house on the rock stood firm while the one on sand fell.

Did you ever notice in that story that the weather was just exactly the same? The wise man suffered the exact same weather conditions as did the one who built his house on sand. You and I are going to have the same storms in life as those who are without Christ. There’s no need to complain about the storms; everybody has them.

The difference is that your house will stand. Why? Because you have abundant life. Your life is built upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ as Lord.

A sure sign that you have been spiritually renewed is the fact that everybody will be able to see the difference in you.