What keeps a believer from receiving his or her inheritance and from living in the love, grace and mercy of our Lord?
- Vera from PA
Hindrances (Part 1)
I feel some yearning in your question. You know the way things are supposed to be but what you see on earth doesn't always match up. Maybe you are thinking of your own life and maybe friends or family who have experienced less than what scripture promises believers. If there is a way to receive more, you want it. Good for you!
I guess I see three main things that hinder us from the abundant life Jesus said he came to give. (John 10:10) Even these hindrances, though, play into God's hands in ways that are not yet entirely clear to us. God is not flustered when Plan A fails, his Plan B is just as good and will ultimately seem like Plan A. That's a mystery now.
The introduction of sin though Adam and Eve brought a curse upon the whole earth and we live under the consequences. Romans 8:20 says; "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope." (By the way, the "hope" that is spoken of here refers to God's antidote to the curse which is that Christ would come and break its power.)
We aren't the only ones longing to see the effects of the curse removed. "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." (Romans 8:22) Even though Jesus paid the full price of the original sin, we have not yet seen the full manifestation of that. However, we could see more if, as believers, we enforced the judgment of Calvary. (More about that in Part 2).
We often fail to receive all that God has for us because we are deceived. Satan has no actual power after being defeated at the cross but he pretends he does and we often buy it. "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Revelation 12:9)
I think about a person whose very rich uncle dies leaving him a fortune. The money is in the bank awaiting his claim. But suppose the attorney for the estate tells the nephew that the estate is bankrupt and the nephew never challenges or verifies it. The fortune is there but he doesn't receive the benefit from it.
Every time we fall for the enemy's lies instead of God's truth, we lose the benefits promised in God's Word.
We filter life through our own personalities and unique backgrounds. Each of us has both strengths and weaknesses. There are usually some broken or wounded areas in our heart and that also plays into how much we get out of life.
Sometimes we simply choose sin even when we know better and then we must put up with various consequences. Sometimes we are lazy and don't want to fight for all that could be ours. Sometimes our woundedness hinders us from receiving the full benefit of our spiritual inheritance. Sometimes we simply choose not take full advantage of God's love, grace and mercy.
Our Lord paid such a high price to make so much available to us; it must sadden him at times when we leave his gifts unopened on the table.
"Overcoming" Tactics (Part 2)
In order to fully live in all that God intends for us, we must get hold of these words of Jesus and let them sink deep into our spirit. "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11:12) Another translation says it this way: "…the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."
We must be willing to fight for everything that is rightfully ours. Sometimes the fight will be very intense but we must not give up or fall back. As mentioned in Part 1, we must enforce what the cross of Christ secured. There are those who are too timid or maybe even too lazy to do it, but those who are willing will receive the most.
What are our battle weapons? There are many things. Knowledge of the Word of God is essential because with it we speak the truth when our circumstances or the enemy dishes out lies.
Continuously working on a deep intimate relationship with Christ is another crucial element. We cultivate this through our prayer and praise and thanksgiving. We make sure we stay closely attached to the vine. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
Live a holy life. Avoid sin and thereby avoid consequences which will rob us of abundance. We maintain a servant's heart as we minister the love of Jesus to our fellow believers and to the world. "…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)
Why do we settle for less than our full inheritance? Let's remove every obstacle and see how much of heaven we can bring to the earth!