A regular question which comes from all over the world goes something like this. “Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’ What am I doing wrong? How can I live that abundant life He’s talking about?” The verse that is being referred to comes from John 10:10.
Christians often get so focused on the spirit part of life that we neglect the whole person which God has created us to be. He made us in 3 parts—spirit, soul and body. We are a spirit. We have a soul. We live in a body. I believe it takes all 3 parts to be in harmony with God’s will to live the abundant life here on this earth.
In a busy and complex world, it is very easy to feel unhappy or in need of personal fulfillment. Maybe you feel as if your relationships are not where you want them to be, or you do not have enough money. You may easily catch yourself wondering, “If I just had this or that, I would be happy.”
But that doesn’t work. To illustrate my point, just today, the Russian government claims Koku Istambulova is the world’s oldest person. At age 128 it is reported that she says she hasn’t lived a single happy day in her life. She has said that her longevity is “a punishment.”
Fulfillment is a mindset. During the weeks of researching this article in order to try to bring value to our partners, the truth seems clear. Personal fulfillment cannot come from material things or by living a long life. Material things are most often a bi-product of true self-fulfillment. Happiness is found when you can reflect and find contentment here and now. Personal fulfillment is first and foremost a mindset. I believe it starts with dealing with our spiritual life, with eternal life with God through Jesus Christ.
Most who are reading this newsletter have already made that all-important decision yet still struggle with being content in life. It’s what we do each and every day in the soulish realm (which is made up of our mind, will and emotions) that establishes our emotional state of contentment and happiness. We do this by bringing our soul into line with God’s will.
Here are 7 steps that I believe will help you feel happier and more fulfilled starting today.
- Surround Yourself With Positivity
The Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 NKJV
A great deal of your happiness can be affected by your environment and the people around you. Jesus talked about the importance of choosing wisely who we associate with. If you notice that you spend much of your time with people who have a negative impact on your mood or attitude, it may be time to branch out and connect with people who make you smile and push you toward spiritual growth and positivity. Words have a powerful and spiritual impact, listen to the words from those around you and make sure you are with people who speak words that build-up instead of criticize or gossip.
Jesus also taught the importance of continually renewing our mind to think thoughts that are positive and uplifting, and in agreement with His will for our life. See Philippians 4.
- Picture a future that would be fulfilling to you and pleasing to God.
Genesis 30:32-43 describes Jacob using an image to create a spot and speckled herd for His blessing. What we look at and have in front of our eyes has power to eventually manifest if our actions. Stay in agreement with a positive and Godly image for your future.
It is God’s will for us to have a future and a hope. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Give yourself goals to reach. Develop goals both in your personal and professional life. Maybe you want to lose weight, go back to school for a higher degree, or drink more water. Maybe you want learn a new language or to travel somewhere. What’s in your heart?
Spend time picturing and planning what it will take to be successful in reaching your objectives. After you have set these goals, implement a step by step plan to achieve them, just like Jacob did above. Remember, God almost always works through us, not in spite of us. Results occur when we take action in agreement with our goal.
- Count your blessings.
Ephesians 5:20 tells us to always give thanks. “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Take time to celebrate your victories and accomplishments. It is incredibly important to celebrate those wins and reward yourself in some way. Give yourself recognition for a job well done. Reinforce in your heart and mind that you worked with God to achieve a positive outcome.
- Take Action. Take Charge.
James 2:14-26 says, “Faith without works is dead.”
It is often too easy to put others in charge of your own happiness, such as a spouse, a friend… or God. Yet the truth is that you are completely responsible for your own happiness and fulfillment.
Instead of blaming other people or things for your lack of happiness, take charge. Put a plan into action and find ways to be fulfilled no matter what comes your way or how others treat you.
Taking responsibility for the outcome of your life or for the results of some situation can seem challenging, but it brings fulfillment. Taking charge and taking action can be extremely rewarding.
- Help Others
In the midst of difficult times help other people. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
A wonderful way to feel fulfilled is to share what you have with others. This can include time, money, or skills. If you are using these resources to benefit others, you will help them out and at the same time you will add to your own happiness.
Did you know that a couple of the fastest and most effective ways of combating depression is to help someone else? Another method is through personal growth. It’s no surprise that both of these things are part of bringing you awesome personal fulfillment.
- Take Care Of Yourself
“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” Ephesians 5:29-30
Even though it is great to help others, it is vital that you do not overlook your own needs. Give yourself rest when you need it. Lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Nourish and care for all 3 parts of yourself—spirit, soul and body.
If you are taking care of yourself, you will be much more able to influence others around you and will feel happier overall.
- Find The Good
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
While it may seem as if there is little to cherish in your life at times, you must look within and acknowledge the things that are right. Find the situations and people in your life for which you are grateful and focus on these.
Focusing on the positives will not only help you to feel a greater sense of fulfillment but will also allow you to identify the other areas in your life where changes could be made.
Self-fulfillment does not happen in one day, it takes time and a conscious effort. But if you follow these steps and take action to change your daily habits, you can become more fulfilled with the simplicities of your life.
Find happiness in yourself—in who God created you to be. This will reflect on everything you are. It helps to tell yourself regularly, “I like myself.”
In summary, we should understand that “happiness” is an emotion–part of our soul. It is like the caboose on a train, it will follow the thoughts and actions you take. The spiritual counterpart is “joy” which we experience through obedience to the Lord and in God’s presence and fellowship. As natural people, we can live an abundant life here, in this world.
Dale & Paula
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