I Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV)
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
Just two verses hidden in the Old Testament bear a revelation much larger than the text. Many years ago, Bruce Wilkerson brought the story of a man named Jabez to light. Pulling this individual out of the Old Testament and thrusting him into the light, many people including myself were greatly encouraged by his story. The first verse tells of how he came into this world and that despite the bad label of “I gave birth to him in pain”, he went on to be an honorable man. It is my belief that anyone whose name makes it into the Word of God does so with a purpose so I also believe that Jabez caught God’s Attention with his obedience and faithfulness to the Lord. The second verse is the request of this man before the Lord. His petition was simple yet profound. Lord, bless me. Enlarge my territory. Let you hand be with me. Keep me from harm that I will be free from pain. “And God granted his request.”
I am challenged in my heart today by the concept of fullness in God. What does that mean? My baby girl woke up with an upset stomach today. She is a Child of God. She is saved and full of the Holy Spirit. She shares Christ with her friends. She is demonstrating faithfulness in her young life at a tender age. If she indeed living an honorable life, why is she sick today? Why do we have pain, suffer, endure hardship and experience trials if we are saved, sanctified and filled with God’s Spirit? Do we ask the Lord for more if there is fear that it will need faith produced only through fire? His name bore the mark of his arrival with pain. He was delivered by pain so much so that his mother named him after his past. Did Jabez run from his past or learn to live in the present? He lived in the present. He was honorable, credible, consistent, and upright despite the mark against him. My past has marked me severely. However, it does not limit me from the Fullness of Christ today. My thought is that sometimes we settle for less because we know who we are and fail to accept all of Who Christ is.
Ephesians 3:10-12 (NIV)
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
God’s intentions from the beginning was for His People (us) to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ so that the “manifold wisdom of God” should be made known the rulers and authorities of the heavenly realm. This is important. Our enemy, satan, is the ruler of the earth. His army is the attacking force that distracts us and discourages us from proclaiming and living in the Supreme Power of God given to us through Jesus Christ. It is who we are apart from what mankind has chosen to call us or how it has judged us. The world and every demon in it including the devil have absolutely no power over a believer’s life unless surrendered to him. If you (or I) are not living in the fullness of Jesus Christ including dominion, power and authority over every situation and detail of life, then it is on us not the Lord.
In Jesus Christ and through our faith in our relationship with Him, we may approach God with complete freedom and confidence. The only restriction is sin. Repentance is turning from our sin (or at least that is what it means) so we can come closer to the Lord. Our life is a perpetual turning of all of who we are over to who God created us to be with all the divine benefits. What does this mean?
Ephesians 1:3-6 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Our life is predestined. Predestination upholds the belief that God has a plan for us with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) The problem is not God’s Planning or His Timing and certainly not a question of ability. It is all up to you and me. We decide if we live in the spiritual blessings of God or endure the curse that was ended on Calvary. In Jesus Christ, believers are blessed with every spiritual blessing through Him. He chose us. He loves us. He desires us. In our repentance and return to Him, Heaven is opened to us while still here on the earth. Miracles still happen. Psalm 103 delineates just some of the spiritual blessings warning our soul not to forget. Sometimes we forget who we are in Christ and live the life designated by birth. Jabez chose to live according to who God said that He was and reach for who God placed in his heart that he could be. He came to God and laid out his request according to the confident faith that he had in the Old Covenant. “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?” (2 Corinthians 3:7-8)
2 Kings 4:1-6 (NIV)
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
The Glory of the New Covenant in our life is unquestionable and yes, unfathomable. Believers are full of spiritual blessings that are not tapped into but wasted in bondage to fear, anxiety, worry and stress. God promised that His Children would have His Fullness. Do you feel full? Are you full? If you are a saved, Blood-bought, Spirit-filled, believer, you are most certainly full of God. Trouble is that when life gets good, people stop pumping. If the water is running, why all the work? We do not think beyond today about our future. This family had experienced terrible tragedy in the loss of their father and husband. They were being preyed upon by creditors. The man who passes was a godly man “from the company of the prophets.” Bad things happen to good people. Tragedy strikes God’s People. It’s life. It’s the world we live in. Love is cold. Sin is rampant. We were warned. However, we were never lost, forgotten or forsaken but arrived fully equipped. She had the oil. She needed to pour it out. She needed to tap into it. She needed to see that greater was He in her than he that was in the world. It only stopped flowing when there were no more vessels to fill.
Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
When Jabez came to God with his request, it was not the usual give me this or that, fix this problem or that, or any tangible thing. He asked the Lord to bless me. He didn’t say how or why just bless me, Lord. What might happen if rather than telling God what we need and how to do it but rather asked Him simply to bless us according to His Will? I wonder. He asked God to enlarge his territory – to increase his influence. To give him broader perspective. He wanted God to move the stakes of his faith out a little farther, to explore new places in the Lord, and to claim his ground. I wonder what might happen if we did that, too? He asked the Lord to keep His Hand on him. He wanted a relationship with God that was more intimate than before. He invited the Lord God to be with Him. He wanted the Father’s Blessing in all that He did. Finally that I will be free from pain. Love covers a multitude of sin. Harmony is better than the oil that flowed from Aaron’s beard. Jabez knew the importance of his legacy in life and asked the Lord to make him loving and lovable all at the same time. When we follow Christ, though the world will hate us, they cannot deny that we loved if we are truly disciples of Jesus Christ.
With this in mind, what was God’s Response? He granted this man’s request. I don’t think that believers lack any good thing, I just think that fear keeps us from getting tapped in to the fullness of God because it comes with a price. Obedience. Confidence. Honor. See you can have it all. You do. God placed it in your design. You are not a note scrawled on a cocktail napkin. You are an elaborate masterpiece designed by God. No one else could see the image in Michelangelo’s head that would become the display in the Sistine Chapel. It is intricate. It is magnificent. It is spectacular but it began as a tiny image in one man’s mind until he allowed God to move him to the scaffold with a brush in his hand. It took the artist four years to complete. God has filled you with the same potential that He does every living, breathing human being as we are created in His Image. When we connect to Christ becoming rooted and grounded in His Love, we are established as God’s Children. The spiritual blessings in our life are limitless. We limit them by unbelief. You will never know the power invested in you without taking a step of faith by beginning to let pour from you. God is ready to release spiritual blessing in our life always. We must decide if our vessel is open or shut.
Today, I am asking the Lord to strengthen my innermost being and stir His Spirit up within me. I am ready to level up and grow some more in Christ. It is time to acknowledge my authority and power in Jesus and claim victory again over all the details called reality that are holding me back with invisible power. I want to know just how wide, long, high and deep God’s Love really is so by faith I must venture out past my comfort and step over complacency to be stretched just a little more. I want to be filled with the measure of all the fullness that God has promised through Jesus Christ and I believe that He will grant my request in Jesus Name.
Colossians 2:6-10 (NIV)
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.