In this article, I would like to focus on the following verse; “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Corinthians 9:8). What does it mean to “abound in good works?” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes the word “abound” as being “to have or possess in great quantity.” Therefore, Paul, is stating in this verse that it is God’s Will that we perform many good works in order to be pleasing unto God. By many good works, I mean that we should do more than the basics that God requires in order for us to be faithful. In order to “abound in good works,” however, we must first excel at the basic requirements that God commands us to do in order to be a faithful Christian. Only then can we go onto to do extra good works as 2 Corinthians 9:8 says.
But what are the basics that God requires in order for us to be faithful? Spiritual basics include the things that we must begin to do as “babes in Christ” so that we can continue to grow stronger and stronger spiritually. Before we can handle digesting the “meat of the Word” or the parts of God’s Word that take more than a novice to understand, we must focus on completing the first steps of becoming spiritually obedient unto God. If we do not complete the basics and continue doing them every day, then we cannot go on to performing our full potential in our obedience to God. The following are a list of some of the “basics” that we have to do before being considered faithful and obedient to God.
1. Become a Christian. This is the very first step to become a faithful and obedient servant of God, and eligible for a home in Heaven one day. In order to become a Christian, one must Hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17), Believe that what you hear is the truth, ( Mark 16:16). Repent of your past sins (Acts 2:38), Confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 10:32), Be Baptized Into Christ (Acts 22:16;I Peter 3:17-22), and Remain Faithful Until Death (Revelations 2:10).
2. Study your Bible Every Day: It is so important that a Christian be spiritually fed everyday from the Word of God, just as everyone would make sure to be physically fed every day. II Timothy 2:15 states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” A Christian must study the Word of God in order to know what He expects of everyone in order to be faithful. Just hearing the Bible read, preached, or taught on Sundays and Wednesday nights are not enough. We must show our love of God by wanting to hear His Words to us each and every day. Think of it this way, would we want to hear from our loved ones just one or two days in a week? If not, then it stands to reason that if we are to put God above everyone else, then we should want to hear from Him through the Bible each and every day as well! “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). We should also read the Bible in order to be able to teach others about God’s Word so that they may become Christians themselves. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (II Timothy 3:16). When a faithful Christian faces adversity, reading the Bible is such a great comfort, because he or she can be reminded of God’s Love for him or her, and what wonderful things await a faithful Christian at the end of life’s journey!
3. Attend church services regularly: There is no excuse that can be given to condone not attending worship services of the church of Christ every first day of the week and every other time a person’s home congregation meets unless one is sick or caring for the sick. This also includes the requirement that those who are Christians partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (Sunday) in order to be pleasing unto God. Of course, God in His Mercy will forgive those who miss worship services due to sickness or caring for the sick, but not attending for any other reason causes us to forsake the assembly. We should also not use issues that would not keep us out of our secular job as an excuse to miss worship services. We should always be joyful and excited to attend worship services to sing praises to and worship our Heavenly Father. For me, I always come out of worship service feeling so much better than I did going in! “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1). The church is the house of the Lord today (I Timothy 3:15), and let us joyfully enter her assemblies!
3. Pray Often: Oftentimes, some people only turn to God in prayer during challenging times, however, we should have a prayerful attitude at all times. Prayer unto God will help us in any situation that we find ourselves because God hears and answers the prayers of those who are faithful. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). We should not only pray for ourselves but for others as well. Prayer not only helps to improve our spiritual health, but it also helps boost our moods and it encourages us to have a more positive frame of mind during discouraging times.
These are a few of the basics that God requires us to do in order to begin our lives as faithful Christian and servants. Besides the act of being baptized, all of the “basics” listed above should be done every day so that we can grow stronger in the Lord through knowledge and obedience. Only then can we go onto to “abound in good works” by doing more good works besides those listed above. Abounding in good works means that we do not stop with just doing the basics to please God, but going “above and beyond” the minimum that is required of us. We should not just stop at doing the list above and no other good works, but we should all look to do as many good works for others and for the Lord as we can put our hands and our talents to do. God gave each and every one of us specific talents that we should use to render obedience to Him so that we can improve our talents and gain new ones.
Are you going “above and beyond” in your service to God, or are you doing the bare minimum to get by? May we all make a habit of analyzing our own lives on a regular basis and consider how much we are doing for God, so that we will reflect more of Christ than ourselves unto others every day.