There are two seas in Palestine. One is a freshwater sea and fish live in it abundantly. Its banks are green and lined with beautiful trees. Everything around it lives and thrives. Children love to play on its shores.
The other sea, however, has no fish. Nothing near it is green. No birds nest nearby. Children seldom play on its shores and the air above it hangs heavy.
The Jordan River flows into both seas, but they do two different things with what flows into them.
The Sea of Galilee receives water and gives it out…drop for drop. Water flows in and water flows out in equal measure. The other sea, however, hoards its water. Every drop it receives, it keeps. Its name is the Dead Sea.
There are two kinds of people in the world, just as different as these two Palestinian seas.
Like the Sea of Galilee, some give freely, bringing love and joy and hope to those around them. And others, like the Dead Sea, strangle themselves with selfishness and greed.
Learning from the Living Dead
First Timothy 5:6 warns us against selfishness, saying, “She who lives in pleasure and self-gratification [giving herself up to luxury and self-indulgence] is dead even while she [still] lives.”
There are people in body of Christ who live this way. I guess you could call them the living dead because you can actually see a deadness in them. They may have nice things, but they can’t seem to enjoy them. They’re constantly complaining. No matter how much is done for them, they are never satisfied. Their prayers are always for themselves. And they dwell in self-pity.
I bet you can think of a few people who you think fit that description, but the truth is everybody has a problem with selfishness. It’s human nature to want to take care of yourself before you take care of other people’s needs. That’s why the Bible teaches us that we have to war against the spirit of selfishness.
Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about the subject.
Learning from the Giver of Life
Mark 8:34 says, “…If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and…follow with me….”
The more I study that scripture, the more I’m convinced that our cross isn’t poverty or disaster or sickness or troubles. It’s simply to get over ourselves-to lay our lives down.
Can I tell you something? If you want to live for God, He will ask you to lay some things down.
Every one of us has a ministry. Every one of us can bring reconciliation between some other person and God. We can affect our world in a positive way. But in order to do that we have to get over ourselves and get a little uncomfortable. We need to learn to live deeper.
To be honest, I can’t think of anything more challenging to do than that. But all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us (see Philippians 4:13).
How to Change a Life Today
I believe God has spoken some things to you. He has put some dreams on the inside of you. But there is a price to pay to carry a strong anointing on your life. You’re not going to be able to stay in strife. You’re not going to be able to live in a state of unforgiveness. You’re not going to be able to stay full of pride.
Our lives go by so fast. We need to use our time on earth to do what’s right.
Mark 8:35 says, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (NIV).
If you want the higher life, you’ve got to give up the lower life. If you want to have the spiritual life, you’ve got to give up the fleshly life.
How exactly do you do that?
Each day before you even get out of bed, ask yourself: What does God want me to do today? Who needs a word of kindness? Who needs to be lifted up? Do I own something that someone else needs?
I believe you will find that the answer to enjoying the abundant life is to give out whatever God puts in your heart…drop for drop.
Look for someone who’s alone and hurting. You can change a life today.
© 2010 Printed with permission of Joyce Meyer Ministries