Christian Living Stories: The Abundant Life

Christ came so we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Some modern preachers want us to believe this refers to wealth and prosperity, so they urge people to go boldly before God and claim this promised abundance. To them, faith is measured by how much God blesses us materially.

However, the God revealed in the Bible is not some big “sugar daddy” in the sky, ready to give us everything we want. We may prayerfully sing, “Oh Lord, won’t you give me a Mercedes Benz?” and we might get it, but that doesn’t mean God gave it to us.

Jesus said that a man’s life does not consist of the abundance of the things he might possess (Luke 12:15). He said we should we seek first the kingdom of God, and told us not to be greatly concerned about material possessions (Matthew 6:31-33)

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the abundant life Jesus calls us to precludes riches or worldly success, but it does not depend on them, either.

Paul knew this better than anyone. He knew how to be abased or exalted, have a full tummy or an empty one, to abound or suffer—and through it all be content and give thanks (seePhilippians 4:11-13 and Ephesians 5:20). In other words, we can experience the abundant life even if we are poor as church mice and struggling through all the trials life can throw at us.

John 10:10 tells us the reason Jesus came was so we could have life, referring to “eternal” life, or the life of the age to come. The phrase “more abundantly” is the Greek word perissos,meaning “beyond, more, and above measure.” It refers back to the word “life.” Not only does Jesus promise a future abundant life, but he also gives it to us now—he lives his life within us right now. His very presence in us adds something immeasurable to our existence. He is what makes our life worth living in spite of how much money we have or don’t have in the bank.

If we read the whole passage of John 10, we see it’s about Jesus being our shepherd, we sheep hearing his voice, and Jesus being our open door. The context refers to having a positive relationship with God. And that, my friend, is what the more abundant life is all about. Not only do we get eternal life but as an added bonus we have the opportunity to build a relationship with Jesus Christ—the very one who makes it all possible.

Man views abundance in terms of physical possessions. God has a different perspective. His abundant life is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control, compassion, humility, character, wisdom, enthusiasm, dignity, optimism, confidence, honesty, and a relationship with him. In other words, the more abundant life is full of all the things money can’t buy. No matter how much money you have, you cannot buy more patience, wisdom, hope, self-control, or salvation!

Money cannot buy us a “more abundant” life, but God gives it to us if we let him. The more we open our hearts to God, the more abundant our lives will be.

Author: Barbara Dahlgren


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