Something you’ll probably notice if you walk into The Grace Wellness Center or follow any of our social media pages or blogs, is the emphasis on living an abundant life. As Christians, we are called to not just muddle through our days, but to live abundantly. We are born again in Christ, and are promised that God will provide for our needs and has a specific plan for our lives. So why does it seem that so many Christians are just waltzing through life, and struggling to find peace, joy, and purpose? Why are we not thriving?
Simon Peter was a good man. He was an apostle. He walked with Jesus and learned from Him first hand. Peter was the first to see Christ and the only apostle to have an individual meeting with Jesus following the resurrection. He was “the rock” that Jesus trusted to build the early Church. Yet when we look at Peter’s story throughout the Bible, there is a pattern; a pattern that I believe holds true in the lives of many Christians today. Peter couldn’t get out of the way.
Peter had a habit of being impetuous. He often spoke or acted without putting much thought into what he was doing and saying. He let his human emotions and personal thoughts cloud his perception, and he got in the way of God’s will. A good example of this is his questioning of Jesus in Matthew 16:23. Peter rebukes Christ and resists that the Messiah must suffer. Jesus responds by telling Peter, “you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”. Other examples of Peter’s struggles include drawing his sword in anger when Jesus was arrested, and denying Christ in the courtyard of the high priest to protect himself. These were both actions that were driven by human emotions and personal thoughts and interests, instead of Spiritual wisdom.
If selfish thoughts and human emotions can trip Peter up, then it’s safe to assume Christians today can be stumped by similar thoughts and emotions. Think about your own life for a minute. In what areas of your life are you getting in the way of God’s will? What is preventing you from living an abundant life? What is preventing you from thriving?
Sometimes life is difficult. We all go through different struggles. Selfishly, we ask God, “why?” Here is something to remember. We only have our own understanding; a human understanding. We are ignorant of God’s plan and ways. We often decide to do what is in our own best interest, which is self-promoting. We interfere with God’s will because of our own limited self-perception, and therefore, we find it difficult to find this abundant life that God promises in Christ. So what can we do? Get out of the way.
Easier said than done, right? How do we get out of the way, start living abundantly and really thriving the way God wants us to? I have an idea on that. Prayer is a vital part of connecting with God. Constantly talking to God and seeking Him, we gain discernment and are able to separate our selfish thoughts and emotions, from His will and His plan for our lives. But even in prayer, many Christians allow their insecurities and negative thoughts to get in the way of their connecting with God, worrying about the right time to pray or what words to say. Scripture gives us guidance on this. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray (the Lord’s Prayer), with the focus being on God’s will coming to fruition. “Thy will be done,” is a powerful prayer that Jesus used even in Gethsemane when He set His own desires aside to accept and become God’s plan of salvation for humanity (Luke 22:42). God has given us a guidebook in the Bible, and an example to live by in Christ. Being in the Word consistently is also important for spiritual growth. God provides examples and stories in the Bible that teach us how to live and how to connect with Him. The more we connect with Him, the more we grow to trust Him, and the easier it becomes to get out of the way.