Background Text: Joshua 1:9
Devotional Text: John 10:10
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an abundant life?
The good news is that an abundant life is exactly what Jesus promised as a reason he came to Earth.
Just take a look at John 10:10b and read his words: “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
This statement from our Savior brings to question two thoughts — What constitutes an abundant life, and what is the life that Jesus was (and is) talking to us about?
If we look at the Greek word “perisson,” which translates to abundance, we find a meaning that includes something that is “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, a quantity including so much more than what we could ever expect or anticipate.”
When we liken this meaning to the words of Jesus, we find that it means Jesus gives to us more than we can ever imagine. What a wonderful hope and future he has in store for us.
There is, however, a big difference between the abundance given to us by Jesus and the abundance we find in the world.
Worldly abundance includes objects of desire, such as owning all you desire. It also includes going wherever you wish, whenever you wish. It can include making a name for yourself to stand out above other people, or to become very rich and successful by worldly standards.
Guess what? These things are not included in the abundant life of Jesus.
First of all, the abundant life given to us by God comes when we decide to follow Jesus. It’s part of the new life we receive in Christ. It has nothing to do with pride or envy or jealousy or greed. Instead, it all has to do with the love and joy and peace we find in our hearts and our lives as we begin to follow and grow in the Lord.
Wikipedia defines this abundance as “referring to life in its abounding fullness of joy and strength for spirit, soul and body. The abundant life is in contrast to feelings of lack, emptiness and dissatisfaction.”
Let’s look at some of the Scriptures that tell us what we can expect from having an abundant life in Christ.
Colossians 3:2-3 tells us when we believe and trust in Jesus we can “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Moreover, James 1:17 reminds us that “every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights (who is God).”
In Ephesians 3:20, we are reminded about the great abundance available at the hand of our God, and how he distributes it to believers: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
This Scripture refers to something we come to know as believers — God knows all about our circumstances, even before we do. God knows what needs to be done, and in his sovereignty he will nudge us along the right path. So many times as we place our trust in the one who is most trustworthy, we arrive at the right place and at the right time.
Trusting God's Plan
God will often use the resources of other people to meet our needs. I can think of numerous times when I had the need for a certain thing, and then someone would come along at the right time and offer me the needed item.
I’m not talking about desire here, but need. Like the time I did not have a laptop computer when entering seminary and knew I would need one to do my work. God knew this need, and I did not tell anyone of it. I just asked God to help me, as I also had little money.
Just before I began seminary, a woman at church asked me if I’d like her laptop because she was buying a new one. Yes. It was just what I needed at the right time. God is like that. This is one way he uses the abundant resources of others to fulfill our needs.
We see surprises of abundance from God in numerous Scriptures, such as 1 Corinthians 2:9 where Paul tells us, “No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
I love this Scripture because it reminds me to trust in God, who is full of surprises.
Again, we are not talking about great riches and success here. We are talking about contentment and fulfillment of purpose as the people of God, as people who live by the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul again speaks to us about being content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, knowing that God knows what we go through, and it is God who is with us, a real help in times of trouble.
A life of abundance is one that comes from following the ways taught by Jesus. It means being compassionate toward one another. It means developing a gentle spirit as you go through your life’s journey.
The beginning of John 10:10 tells us that Jesus did not come to us as a thief who takes away from us, but to give us an abundant life.
Jesus reminds us that it is not “things” that we need. It is Jesus, himself.
Be aware that God brings opportunities to us. Do not talk yourself out of answering those opportunities, believing you can’t do it or are not worthy of it. If the opportunity is from God, and you answer it, you will find that it will lead toward God’s gift to you of the abundant life.
Happiness does not come from what you wish you had, but from being content in what you do have. God knows our needs, our wants, and our desires. He answers our prayers by doing what is best for us, even if we do not know what that is. God knows, and his leading is always toward the right and good.
Matthew 6:33 reminds us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”