Have Life, and Have It In Abundance
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:9-11
The holidays and observances throughout January create a season of celebrating life and seeking to live out abundant life, through MLK Day, March for Life, and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
There cannot be abundant life without first having life. Last week, March for Life events around the country celebrated the overturn of the historic Roe v. Wade decision in the Dobbs case. However, the work is not done, and the prayers have not ceased. We continue to pray for our nation to deeply value life AND abundant life: for children to be born, grow up in loving and safe communities, and fulfill their God-ordained purpose.
Of course, laws are important to determine and direct the actions of citizens, but behavior modification cannot be substituted for true worship – an action that honors God stemming from an overflow of a heart conviction is counted as righteousness and an act of worship.
In Acts chapter 2, we see how the Spirit transformed the hearts of early believers to move them into actions of worship. They were compelled to sell their possessions and property and distribute “the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need.” Submission to God led these early believers to prioritize serving one another and fulfilling each other’s needs. This is the type of Holy-Spirit transformation that we pray for in our culture!
When we celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day each year, we honor and remember the work of a godly man who listened to the call of the Holy Spirit. He followed the Lord and spent his life wading through deep waters toward life and life abundant for everyone in our nation. He sought abundant life both for the systematically abused and mistreated, and abundant life in spiritual freedom for those whose minds were ensnared by sin to see and set themselves above other image bearers. This day of remembrance has spiritual significance for believers as a prompt to pray for similar courage and discernment to stand against sin in our day and stand up for the flourishing of every life.
Since 2010, the month of January stands as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month - another prompt to pray against sin, where the weak and vulnerable are coerced into harmful acts and abused, all for the gain and profit of the trafficker. The U.S. State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons report noted that children in foster care, the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system were at high risk for being trafficked. We can pray for the safety and protection of these young people, and pray for those who work with them to have a heart to protect children and see them as having the hope and future God promises.
I often ask the Lord to give me questions to ponder and process with the guidance of the Spirit, as a means to search my own heart, repent where necessary, and more fully walk in the process of sanctification by embracing the heart and characteristics of Christ.
Can I share some of those questions with you that I have prayed through in this season surrounding ‘life’, and invite you to join me in pondering them?
-How do I talk about people who become pregnant? Do I truly celebrate their choice for life? Over the next few years, what do I do to support the thriving of this new life?
-Am I focused on preserving my own position and comforts, or am I focused on seeing others experience abundant and flourishing life?
-Do I view God’s grace, joy, mercy, love, and strength as finite resources that must be conserved and only used in certain ‘deserved’ instances, or do I live in a way where I freely pour out in every interaction because I know the Lord’s well of living water will never run dry?
Lord, You are the Source of life – You breathed life into Adam when You formed him from the dust of the earth, just as You have given life to every person since, including me. Thank You for my life, and for Your faithfulness to never leave or forsake me. Lord, give me Your eyes, to see each person around me as a precious creation that You died to save and redeem, no matter if they are not yet born, if they are different from me, or far from following You. Guide me in Your truth and in Your ways – I want to live in Your abundant life, and point others to put their faith in You and experience the same!
Lord, I pray that our nation would experience the promptings of the Holy Spirit like the believers in Acts 2, where we would be overwhelmed with Your love, provision, and desire to see abundant life. Move on us like You did over Rev. King, to follow You with deep rooted faith. Let your living water flow through every corner of our hearts and nation!
In Jesus name, Amen.
P.S. – You can keep the conversation around LIFE moving forward in your family and church! Based on a true story about adoption, family, love, and forgiveness, the movie LIFEMARK will encourage viewers to celebrate and choose life. Get YOUR digital or hard copy today at your favorite retailers: https://lifemarkmovie.com/watch/
Peace and blessings,
Communications Coordinator, National Day of Prayer Task Force