This week in Living on the Rock, we are discussing a concept that’s intrigued and perplexed me for as long as I can remember: Jesus’ promise of abundant life.
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The Mssg translates this: “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
This week we spent a couple of days looking at the Bible’s promise of ABUNDANCE. And the promise is abundance of LIFE, an abundant life. The word used there in John is elsewhere translated MORE. It means exceeding, more than is necessary, surpassing, uncommon.
So my question is WHAT IS ABUNDANT LIFE? How do you have more life than is necessary? What kind of life is that?
The pictures the Bible uses for this abundant life are beautiful:
- Drinking your fill of the abundance of His house in Psalm 36
- Other Psalms talk about being satisfied with marrow and fatness (the richest part of meat)
- Isaiah describes a “lavish banquet”, while Jeremiah promises life “like a watered garden”
- And Isaiah again, in the midst of His great New Covenant promises, shows Yahweh calling, “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
- Elsewhere in John, Jesus echoes that promise calling, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
This has been my question my entire Christian life. RIVERS OF LIVING WATER. I believe Jesus – so those rivers of living water must be flowing in me somewhere.
WHERE ARE THEY? Where is this abundant life?
I’ve become convinced that this is something we grow into (as much as I wish I could pray or jump through some sort of spiritual hoops and suddenly BOOM – rivers of living water.)
I’ve had moments, glimpses – and I want more.
I wish I could tell you how to live this way. But mostly I just know to
- Pray for it (claim this promise as our birthright, ask Jesus to lead us into it)
- Pay attention to what opens the door to glimpses of this more-than-life (for me, connection with God and others, acts of trust, silence, rest, self-lessness)
- Pay attention to what steals peace, joy, all the other marks of the Spirit’s presence in me (because I do believe these rivers of life are the Spirit, abundant life is Spirit filled life.)
This leads me to pay attention to the lie of scarcity – which is rampant in our culture.
SO IRONIC. Despite the fact that we live in THE most abundant society that has ever existed – We live as if there is a scarcity epidemic. We sit on top of everything we could ever need – and live as if we’re competing for limited resources. Like there’s not enough acceptance, and belonging, and love, and grace and success and significance to go around. This is why we compete and compare.
We hoard material blessings – which are actually limited, and those who have more than enough should share with those who don’t have anything. And we compete and hustle and work ourselves to death for the things God offers us freely – SECURITY. PEACE. BEAUTY.
When I realize that I have all I need of what I REALLY need – it does actually make me more generous with all that I have.
What do YOU think it means to live an abundant life?