With the new year, often comes new plans, new vision and reassessment of our lives. I’ve seen many share their ‘word of the year’ as a point of focus for the months ahead. While I’ve never been one to adopt such a thing, as we sat in our Tuesday night Bible study reading 1 Thessalonians 4, I felt that, if I was so inclined, I’d found one. Right there in the first verse is the word ‘abound.’
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;
In this particular place, the abounding more and more was in reference to walking ‘uprightly’ (honourably) and to please God. That is definitely part of the reason ‘abound’ struck me, though I can break it down into more specific compartments. My desire is to:
abound in love
abound in faith
abound in joy
abound in peace
abound in grace
abound in patience
abound in service
abound in courage
abound in determination
abound in relationships
abound in generosity
abound in thankfulness
We’re told in the Bible that God abounds in many wonderful ways.
: : Goodness and truth, mercy, grace, and patience
‘And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth…’ (Exodus 34:6)
: : Mercy, grace, and slow to anger
The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.’ (Psalm 103:8)
: : Comfort
‘For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 1:5)
This, of course, is a very short list. God abounds in every good thing. And He is able to make these qualities abound in me!
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Not only is He able, but He wants me to be overflowing with such attributes, as it makes us thankful and brings glory to Him.
For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
And then again, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he says this:
…that He [the Lord Jesus] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)
Wow! According to His riches in glory. My Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He paints every sunrise and every sunset, He created the heavens, filled it with sparkling lights and made the earth in all its splendour! This same God desires to fill me with the riches of His glory!
But how do I receive these gifts? It all began with Him as He left heaven, and paid for my sins on the cross. All that follows is through Him because of His marvellous grace.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
As I am in Him and draw nearer to Him in His Word and in prayer, these very attributes will flourish. As I exercise my spiritual muscles, they grow stronger. When I am in the vine (John 15), my nourishment and fruit comes from its life-force. Without the vine, I’m just a stick. When I am one with the vine, I–or rather He–produces spiritual fruit in my life. Fruit to be used in service to Him and to others.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-8)
With His help and because I am in Him and He continues to work in me, I trust that I will find these elements are, at the very least, increasing in my life.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)
‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ (Romans 15:13).
Thanks be to God, indeed!
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