Receiving the Abundant Life

Attitude often defines us and manifests itself in our actions (Matthew 7:20). The Bible gives many examples of those whose attitudes were the direct cause of their demise and those whose attitudes were their shining crown. The old prophet and judge, Samuel, from his very beginnings, fit in the latter category. Part of his shining-crown attitude and action can probably be attributed to the fact that he had good instruction but a great part of it was his desire to know God.

Samuel was born as an answer to a prayer and dedicated to God before his conception. During the early years of his temple service, he heard a voice that he thought came from Eli, the High Priest and, eager to serve, he ran to Eli for direction. However, after being awakened several times by this Voice, Eli would tell Samuel exactly what was the proper response to God’s call: “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:9, KJV).

There are many ideas about receiving the “abundant life” of which Jesus spoke (John 10:10). Theories range from direct intervention by God to merely a warm, non-descript feeling. This is not what God has revealed to those willing to listen to Him. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:1-2). This verse confirms that God no longer speaks to His people directly (2 Peter 1:3) but has not left us without revelation and invites us to read and understand the words of His Son through the inspired writers (2 Peter 1:20). When we receive Divine revelation through the written Word of God, we are presented with God’s instruction for His children today and gain access to that coveted eternal life (James 1:21). However, how we respond is critical.

A great deal of what we take away from the inspired Word is, like Samuel, dependent upon our attitude. If we harbor resentment, nurture a bias, or blind ourselves to the obvious truths in the Holy-Spirit-inspired Word, as they present themselves to our attention in study, we will not get the truth but, instead, be deceived and misguided in our understanding (1 Timothy 4:1-4). However, if we open our hearts to “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2) we will then receive abundant life that Jesus intended for us to enjoy.

Jeff Sweeten