Living the Abundant Life

07/12/17

Living the Abundant life

As someone who works in full-time ministry, it’s not unusual to be put on the spot with a biblical question. One of the things that I take pride in is being able to think on my feet and handle such questions quickly. However, I tend to struggle with the question of “What is your favorite verse in the Bible?” My brain always draws a blank. For some reason, I immediately forget every verse that I have ever read. I stumble around for a few seconds before something finally comes to my mind. Those few seconds feel like an eternity! The answer to that question, as of right now, is Romans 8:28 but it changes periodically.

My first favorite verse was John 10:10 which reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I attached myself to the last part of the verse. I wanted to have life abundantly even if I didn’t quite know what that meant at the time. All I knew was that Jesus was offering me more life than I currently had and I wanted in. I once heard it said that the book of John is “is like a body of water in which a child may wade, and an elephant may swim.” This applies to John 10:10.

A lot of people associate Christianity with no fun. They think that the mark of being a believer is following a huge set of rules. Christians have become more known for what we don’t or can’t do rather than for what we are doing. If you know me then you know that I’m a diehard football fan. The NFL has made a bunch of rule changes over the past decade that has taken a lot of the celebrations out of the game. Because of this, people are saying that the NFL no longer stands for the National Football League, but rather the No Fun League. Unfortunately, Christianity is seen in the same light. Does anything about Jesus saying that He has come that we ma have life “more abundantly” suggest that we should be associated with not having fun? I hope that you answered no to that question.

The truth of the matter is that we (Christians) have earned that reputation. We tend to be extremely outspoken in our faith when we are condemning actions. Don’t get me wrong; there are things that we need to avoid. We must flee from sin, but that shouldn’t be what defines us. We should be defined by how we are living our living our lives above and beyond. The Greek word that is used when Jesus says “abundantly” is perisson. Perisson  could also be translated as excessive, or, my personal preference, superabundantly. Would you describe the way you live your life as excessive or superabundant?

Jesus isn’t advocating that we live a lifestyle that is above our means. He’s not saying that we all need to go into tens of thousands of dollars into credit card debt so that we can live an excessive lifestyle. In fact, I’m pretty positive that He would be 100% against that. It’s not about what you do but rather how you are doing it. In my opinion, the chief descriptor of a follower of Jesus should be joy.

When Jesus was preparing the Disciples for His arrest and crucifixion in John 16, he kept telling them the same thing; that they were going to have joy once He resurrected. Paul and Silas are in prison in Acts 16, and God had performed a miracle that would have allowed them to escape. Instead, they stayed put in their cell and because of this, saved the jailers life. The jailer was so moved that he gave his life to Christ and Scripture describes him as being “filled with joy because he had come to believe in God.”(Acts 16:34) Throughout the book of Acts and Paul’s writings, we even see the Disciples taking joy in being persecuted. It is out of joy that everything else in our lives should flow.

Jesus began John 10:10 by saying, “the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.” Is there something in your life that is stealing, killing, or destroying the joy that God has intended for you? Is there something that is holding you back from living your life abundantly? I think that we all should take some time regularly and reflect upon that question. We should never let anything in this world stop us from reaching the joy in life that God has promised us.

Often in my life when I have found that I am missing out on joy, the issue is me. Something in life has gotten me down, and rather than facing that problem with the confidence of Christ, I just want to sit there in self-pity. Nowhere is scripture does it say that we are promised an easy life. In fact, it repeatedly tells us the opposite. This, however, does not allow us the excuse of not living a joyful life. When we fall into that trap, it is because we have placed ourselves above God and we are not trusting in His goodness.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We must believe in this verse at all times. If you are trusting that God is working “all things” together for your good then how can anything steal your joy? Often, it’s in the darkest times that we see God’s light shining the brightest. In those moments when you feel that all your joy has been sucked away, take heart and know that God is working for your good.

We must redefine how the world sees Christians. The best way to do this is by how we live our lives. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We should be living our lives so abundantly that people will be curious of the hope that is in us. What is that hope? It’s the joy given to us through the Holy Spirit.

Kyle Smith, Director of Youth Ministries


One Response to “Living the Abundant Life”

  1. Barbara Edens says:

    Living for Christ is such a joy. I want everyone to find his love like I have. It may take a while to work through faith and trust but it comes with desire, study, patience, and the old self has to give way to a new life. Love your postings Kyle.

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