The More Abundant Life
Feed thou today upon the Bread of Life;
Be strong to conquer ’midst the raging strife;
Help other struggling souls to win today,
For thou shalt never pass again this way.
Feed thou today upon the holy Book;
Be strong to make thy path without a crook;
Lend thou a hand to others lest they stray,
For thou shalt never pass again this way.
O soul of mine, be ever wide awake;
Do all within thy pow’r, for Jesus’ sake,
To feed some hungry, fainting soul today,
For thou shalt never pass again this way.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
These words of Jesus furnish the foundation on which this booklet is built. Because of sin, the great Judge of all men had passed the sentence of death upon the whole race of man (Romans 5:12). Jesus came to revoke this death sentence and to bring us back to life. He says to all, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) Passing from death unto life is a wonderful experience, and millions have experienced it. Nature furnishes many an illustration of this marvelous transition. We see it all around us in the springtime. We behold it when we see the caterpillar pass from its coma state in the chrysalis and emerge into the butterfly life. For us, Jesus calls this experience being “born again.” (John 3:7)
The angel who spoke to the virgin Mary said, “Thou shalt bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) He told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her, and Christ would be born of her. She willingly yielded her life to this wonderful and miraculous work. The Holy Spirit took the seed of God and brought it in contact with the seed of the woman and Christ was born of her. All of us are highly favored of God, for He sends the Holy Spirit to visit each one. And all those who yield their will and life to Him will find their spirit brought in contact with that power of the Highest, and Christ will be formed in them. Certainly it is a marvelous experience—and it is the one and only way to get possession of that life that Jesus came to give. This is the all-important event for your life and mine. Unless we be born of the Spirit it would be far better had we never been born of the flesh.
In the words of our foundation text, Jesus teaches not only that we can have life, but also that we can have it more abundantly. It is to be constantly increasing. When we receive this life, if it is allowed to develop according to its nature, we will daily grow up into the more abundant life. The purpose of this little book is to help you to grow into more abundant life as the days come and go. May God bless it to do so.
Our spirit must be brought into contact with the Spirit of God that we might have life. This is what constitutes a Christian. Our spirit must be kept in close contact with God’s Spirit that we may retain this life. Just as the branch must constantly receive the living sap from the vine, even so we must receive a constant flow of the life of God through Christ into our soul that we may live and grow. Jesus is the link uniting God and man. He touches God on the one hand, and man on the other, and thus in and through Christ we are kept in adjustment with God. In Christ we are made new creatures; we have a new life, and a fresh start in humanity. Christianity is not a cold, staid, formal, and exact exterior, but an inward life force. The external may by culture be brought into quite a degree of perfection, but this will only be delusive except it flows joyously from the perfect life of Christ in the soul. We may be very zealous for the cause of God, and this zeal may serve as a cloak to hide the coldness of the inward life. God wants the worker more than the work. He wants our love more than our labor, our hearts more than our hands. His kingdom is advanced far more by what we are than by what we do. We may do ever so much, but if our doing is not the outflowing of the cheering, joyous, hopeful life of Christ at the center of the heart, our work will be destructive instead of constructive. If we would reproduce the life of Christ in our life, the inner spiritual union with God must be sustained and intensified in our souls.
Those who walk close with God tell us that there is a woeful lack of spiritual power among the people of God today. That there are but few who enter into that spirit of prayer that filled the life of Jesus in those early morning hours when praying in that solitary place. Yet a few rare souls are found panting after God, and who are lifted up by grace into the atmosphere of a sincere, devout life. There are those who know how to leave all earthly things behind and in the Spirit find heavenly sweetness in a quiet hour with God. These are earth’s choicest jewels upon which God has set His love. These are the souls that make God their first end, and their service to God their second end, and because of this they keep themselves unwearied and unworried in their service. They seek to be good more than do good, for they know that except they be good their doing is not as good as it should be. These are the souls that go apart from the world and in the solemn hush of prayer fill their souls with God, and then every act of their service is fragrant with His presence.
All life was created with an end in view. God has garnered in every seed hidden principles of life which will develop after its kind. There are forces in all life which strive to bring that life to its designed end. There is power in life. It is a mistake to seek after power; it exposes the soul to deception. Seek after life. The measure of your spiritual life is the measure of your spiritual power. Where there is little life there is little power. If you do not have power with God in prayer, if you cannot lift your soul up into the presence of God and commune with Him in closest intimacy, you are wanting in spiritual life. Something has hindered the development of those life-forces born into your soul at regeneration. If you are not living a victorious life amid the annoyances and provocations of everyday life, you need more of that abundant life which Jesus came to give. You are allowing something to prevent the inner life from developing as it should. The contact with God is broken at some point; the channel is clogged somewhere. Maybe there has entered into your soul an inclination to go after earthly things. Maybe you are adorning the body for its own sake. Maybe you are getting worried and fretted by some of earth’s losses, or seek enjoyment from the creature rather than the Creator. O soul, flee earthly things, and lay hold on eternal life.
A seed is sown in the ground. It springs into life. There are forces in that life that push it upward through the crust of earth. Every day it is on its march toward the end for which it was created. Those life principles bear it onward and upward instinctively to its designed end. It rises into the stalk, the blade, the tassel, and the full ear. The soul in which has been born the life of Christ contains those principles and forces that struggle for growth and development. They are ever reaching up and taking hold on that which will bring them to maturity. Life links itself with life. The soul that has the life of Christ is linked with Christ and longs to rise to the fulness of Him. That life contained within the eggshell has power to burst open the door of its prison house and come forth to a higher state of existence. The soul in which has sprung up the life that Jesus came to give, is imprisoned here in the body of flesh. While here, it is ever struggling for that higher liberty for which its life calls. Heavenly life in the soul is not reaching out after earthly things; it is ever reaching out after that which will carry it on to the fulness of its type, which is Jesus. That soul is not spending much time, nor is it so greatly interested in its “earthly house.” It groans and longs for that “house which is from heaven.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2) There is a glorious liberty awaiting the children of God (Romans 8:21). It is that liberty the soul will have when it lays aside this mortal body to be clothed with an immortal body—when this vile body shall be changed and “fashioned like unto His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:21)
O child of God, make sure that you have left all earthly things behind, and are reaching forth to those things that are before; that you are pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). That “high calling of God” is the call to that glorious body in which you will not be seeing through a glass darkly, and shall know even as you are known (1 Corinthians 13:12). Give diligent heed to cultivate your life. See that you are rising higher every day into more abundant life. Beware lest you admit something into your life that would hinder the growth of your spiritual life. Give full liberty to those principles and forces of eternal life in your soul, that they be not hindered in their reaching out after God. Give full freedom to the Holy Spirit to work around in your heart producing in you that which is well-pleasing in God’s sight (Hebrews 13:21). See that your spirit is ever the throne room of God, and that you enter often into that innermost seclusion and fertilize your spiritual life by His virtues. If you would be constantly growing up into more abundant life, you must hide your life with Christ in God. You must dwell with the Most High in that secret place where the voices of the world cannot disturb the sweet, solemn hush of your soul’s communion with eternal things, and where there is such a sacred calm that you can hear the whisperings of the Holy Spirit as He is instilling every thought and desire into your life. O man of God, flee earthly things; go often into that solitary place and sup in holy communion with the gentle Lover of your soul.