If you’re anything like me, living an abundant, joy-filled, life can often feel like a carrot (or chocolate fudge brownie) dangled, just out of our reach. We wake up to a new battle each day. Spiritual battles, physical battles, battles in our marriages, battles in parenting, battles in relationships, battles in our health, battles with the scale, the laundry or the dishes!
The battle is real!
With so many battles how do we ever live an abundant, joy-filled life? After all, Jesus did say, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”
So, how do we live an abundant, joy-filled, life?
This was a genuine question I needed God to answer! It was in a moment of frustration, exhaustion, and complete desperation that I prayed, “Lord how do I ever live a joy-filled life when I am always fighting some battle?”
I’ll be honest with you, friend, I didn’t expect the answer He gave me.
Between you and me, I was secretly hoping He would say that I needed to go on the next woman’s retreat to learn how to use a revolutionary parenting idea, or I would need to go on some amazing date with my husband where we would decide to implement a magical home routine. I could see rest, relaxation, and bonbons in my future! Somewhere in my mind, I had concocted this idea that to live an abundant joy-filled life I had to have victory over my laundry, my marriage, my children, and the scale! I wouldn’t ever know what abundant living was until every battle was won! I don’t know when or where that false teaching infiltrated my thinking, but it was stealing my joy. I knew something had to change I just had no idea what to change or how to change it; I was desperate for answers!
What the Lord showed me was that it wasn’t about removing the battle from my life that would bring joy, rather He wanted me to live abundantly and joyfully right in the midst of the battle.
In my morning devotions, the Lord reminded me of a popular Psalm many of us may be familiar with, Psalm 23.
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou lanointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
As I prayed and continued to study this passage I started to understand what living this abundantly and joy-filled life looked like. Let’s look at verse 5, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:”
I encourage you to look this passage up and the meanings of each word. I’ll share just a few thoughts for today’s blog post purposes. Let’s take a look at four words: preparest, table, presence, and enemy.
Preparest means to put in order, to arrange. Let’s consider what God is putting into order, it’s a table.
The word table means a physical table like a piece of wood with four legs. The kind of table we put in our kitchen and serve our family meals on.
Presence means, in front of, straight before, in sight.
The word enemy that is used here means a personal enemy.
As I considered these thoughts, this passage started to answer my question on how I could live this abundantly, joy-filled life!
I realized, that the Lord is calling me, you, to dine with Him right in front of our personal enemies. Think about that, He wants to dine with us in the presence of our laundry, in the midst of our marriage struggles, parenting struggles, or health struggles. The Lord has prepared a table where He daily serves Himself to us, in His fullness, so that we might live abundantly, joyful lives right in the middle of the battle!
It’s time for us to stop looking for the retreat, or the absence of the battle. It’s time we make dinning with Him our priority. Let’s fill ourselves with the Living Water and Bread Of Life that will not only sustain us through the battle but make us abundantly, joyfully, victorious!
If you would like to learn more about living an abundant, joy-filled, life I invite you to join me over on my personal blog where I will be sharing practical helps, scriptural concepts, and encouragement from the lessons I’ve learned on the battlefield.
Until our next chat,
Mrs. Joseph Wood
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 23). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.