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PART 3 RICHES BEYOND MEASURE
What Inhibits the Believer from Experiencing God’s Abundant Life?
While there might be more reasons than the ones presented here, I think that these three are the most prominent or intrusive in terms of inhibiting a believer from experiencing God’s abundant life. But before we take a look at them, I would like to tell you a story.
After my conversion by having repented to God the Father and believed in His Son, I became overwhelmingly saturated with God’s abundant life in my soul for three full days. Unfortunately, this experience of God’s presence would soon wane and I was back being impacted by the feelings and thoughts which had characterized my mind and soul, when I was an unbeliever.
So, what was it that had stopped my life from being impacted by God’s presence?
Over time, God directed me to an assembly of believers where His presence (anointing) was present and impactful. However, it seemed like every time I attended worship and praise service and subsequently left to go home that instead of thinking thoughts about the message which I had just heard, I was back thinking about worldly thoughts and imaginations. The awareness of God’s abundant life permeating through my being was no longer apparent. Here I was back into the prison of mental and emotional captivity.
I didn’t understand what was the divine prescription for my spiritual dilemma, but as time went on the teachings by the pastor unveiled to me what was causing my spiritual distress and what would uplift me from it. So, let’s take a look at the three things that were inhibiting me from experiencing God’s abundant life on a consistent basis.
A. The Sin Nature and Personal Associations
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)
The first one is described here in this verse by the word flesh. The word flesh in the Greek means the sin nature. Every one of us is born with it. Some might also call this the fallen nature. This is a nature that is void of the influences and promptings of the Holy Spirit.
It yearns after desires which are both good and bad. Some of these inclinations, passions, or propensities are genetic meaning that there is a sense in the individual of whom they are residing of wanting to commit a certain act or actions which they feel are being compelled or drawn to do so. For others, the thoughts and feelings that characterize them could be influenced, developed, and eventually be considered acceptable by them through their associations with certain people whose lifestyle is characterized by the implementation of their propensities or yearnings into actionable outcomes.
This is another way of saying that there are some people who engage in actions whose promptings were from within, i.e., the human weakness of their sin nature, while others engage in actions whose promptings were from without by being influenced by those who are already engaged in certain actions and encourage others in the same lifestyle.
Being religious could mean to try and please God in our own power and thus with a fallen mindset. This could be as damaging to our spiritual walk as our sin nature. Why, this is because in some instances the teachings of the church that we attend might support the thoughts and feelings that are perpetuated from the sin nature. Instead of addressing worldly affections, the emphasis rather is placed on obedience to a religious format of do’s and don’ts.
Members are instructed to do certain things, which the leadership says will please God. They might advocate that the members not drink alcohol. They might insist that they tithe 10% of their income. They might advocate that they abstain from committing certain overt sins. They might strongly recommend that they stop going to see movies at a movie theatre. They might even state that everyone must help those less fortunate. I’m not saying that some of these actions are wrong. What I’m saying is, there is little or no awareness as to how a believer can address their worldly motivations and thoughts. While their actions might change, this doesn’t mean that how one thinks about themselves, others, or the trials of life have changed.
Doing good works doesn’t necessarily translate into experiencing God’s abundant life. It just means that our behavior has changed to try and live up to what is considered proper church behavior without operating in the divine life that God has given us. There is a verse of scripture that illustrates what we are talking about here.
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This tells us that there are those who will have a form (an outward appearance) of godliness (an inward living power27; the life of God in their souls28) while denying (that such life or power is here to be experienced or known29) the power (of the divine power that leads to salvation; the divine power that operates on the souls) of such. We are told that there are those in the church, who either are void of the indwelling Spirit or if He resides within, they have no idea how to access His abundant life.
This is where I was at in my walk with God. God had come into my life. I had experienced His beautiful presence, but I was still bound to my sin nature, bound to personal associations whose lives gravitated toward sinful words and actions, and bound to religious practices that had been instilled in me in my youth.
So, how was I to break free from these hindrances and learn how to walk in the Spirit?
This is what we will take a look at in the following chapter. Are you ready to find out how I was able to break free?
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27 The Pulpit Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 07 February 2020 Ë‚http://www.biblesoft.com>.
28Adam Clarke’s Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2004. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 07 February 2020Ë‚http://www.biblesoft.com>.
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