The word “abundant” in the Greek is perisson, which means “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.” When Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), He was saying, simply put, that He wants to give us a life far better than we could ever imagine.
So, what, then, does this abundant life consist of? Lots of free time, plenty of money in the bank, a large circle of influence, people who admire and respect you…the house, the car, the vacations…fun, excitement and adventure…?
Um, not exactly. Jesus wasn’t referring to material abundance, but spiritual abundance. Fact is that God isn’t near as concerned with the physical circumstances of our lives as He is about the condition of our hearts. We often pray for God to change our circumstances when the reality is that He wants to use our circumstances to change us.
God assures us that He will take care of us and meet our physical needs (Matthew 6:25-32), so that’s something we don’t need to worry about. He may or He may not have earthly wealth in His plans for us, and neither riches nor lack of material abundance is an indication of our standing with God. The Bible is full of examples both of godly people who were wealthy and godly people who were poor.
The abundant life Jesus spoke of is a life that is focused on what is eternal rather than what is temporal. You’re living the abundant life when Christ is at the center of everything you do – when you’re following His will, seeking Him in every decision, listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and dealing consistently with sin in your life. Then you are living as you are supposed to and you will experience God’s blessings as a result.
The abundant life is not one with an abundance of stuff, but with an abundance of love, joy, peace, and all the other fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When you’re walking closely with God, you’re going to produce this fruit quite naturally. Our goal should always be to produce so much of it that spills over into the lives of others. Because that’s the whole point with spiritual fruit production – the point is for it to benefit other people.
As Christians, we are here to bless others with our lives. Jesus didn’t say, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your big paycheck and glorify your Father in heaven,” or “that they may hear about your accomplishments and glorify your Father in heaven.” He said “good works” – “that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We are no longer to live for selfish pleasure, as we did before we were saved, but for the worship of God. He bought us and He owns us.
If we are experiencing lack of purpose or fulfillment, the reason is almost always that there is some area of our life that we are holding back from God. Only when we offer our lives as living sacrifices to the One who gave His life for us, are we going to find satisfaction, happiness, joy, and inner peace. Often, we then also discover that the things we thought we needed so badly, we really don’t need at all, and that every plan and dream we’ve ever had for ourselves completely pales in comparison to what Jesus wants to give us.
“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20)