Have you ever been encouraged to live an abundant life? What does that mean? Most of the time, we have heard some preachers say that living an abundant life is to live a life blessed with wealth, good health, and success. Is this what Jesus meant when he said he has come to give us life and life in abundance (John 10:10)? The scriptures warn us against the love of the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, the pride of life – these are not from the Father (1 John 2:16). The Bible warns against the love of money and even serving money instead of serving God (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:10). If the scriptures are warning us against wealth and riches, how then would Jesus come to give us the things that other scriptures warn against? Certainly, this is incorrect; Jesus meant something different from wealth, health, and prosperity.
What does living an Abundant Life mean?
In John 10, Jesus is likening himself to a good shepherd. He is doing this by contrasting a thief and a good shepherd. He says a thief will not enter the sheepfold through the door, the sheep will not listen to him, nor will they follow a thief because they do not know his voice (John 10:15). In contrast to the thief is a good shepherd: the sheep know him, and when he calls them by name, they follow him for they know his voice. The good shepherd will enter the sheepfold by the door, and the gatekeeper will open it for him, unlike the thief (John 10:2) who climbs in another way. Jesus is a good shepherd. A good shepherd wants the best for his sheep. He will take them to feed in the best lands (Psalm 23:1); he also cares for them and will not feed them that which will harm their lives. Jesus knows the desire for worldly riches and success is not good for our lives, and as such, he did not come to give us that which would harm us.
Jesus continued by saying that he is not only a good shepherd but also the door (John 10:9). If anyone enters by him, he will be saved, go in and out, and find pasture. The language that Jesus uses here is the same as in John 14:6. He said that he is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him. There is the idea that through Christ, we will be reconciled to God (1 Timothy 2:5). Why do we need to go to the Father? We must go to the Father because he is the source of life (John 5:6). We are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1). Jesus is the door by which we will go in and be saved from our sins so that we can be with God, since without holiness no one can see God (Hebrews 12:14). Christ saying that he came so that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10) is in a context of salvation. Whoever believes in him will have eternal life (John 3:16). Therefore, abundant life is the same as eternal life that we obtain by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
How do you live an Abundant Life?
As established, an abundant life is the same as eternal life. Eternal life begins once you believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life. No other god will save you from the penalty of sin, the pleasure, power, and eventually the presence of sin. Living an abundant life, therefore, is one that can only be lived by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:25). You cannot live by the Spirit if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, for no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). You begin to walk by the Spirit when you believe you are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:14-16). To live an abundant life, you must first be born again and believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:3;5;16). To live an abundant life is to live a true Christian life, which is only possible if you are a Christian.
How do you live eternal life here on earth? Eternal life means more than just the length of time but also the quality of it. God has, therefore, given us the grace that brings salvation, teaching us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives in the present age (Titus 2:11-12). Living an abundant life requires obedience to what the scripture is saying; this obedience is working out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God working in us both to will and to do his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). Living an abundant life requires us to die to self and live for Christ by putting aside our sinfulness and walking in the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 4:22-24). You must put off sin and sinful tendencies and, in their stead, put on holiness and walking rightly with God. The man who is walking in righteousness is the one who is living an abundant life.
Living an abundant life also requires joy in obedience. John Piper’s famous statement is that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. To enjoy life here on earth as believers, we must get to the point that we delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). To delight is to find deep, satisfactory pleasure in something or someone. The heart of a believer can only be delighted in the Lord; no amount of money, health, or earthly success can bring him joy, for only God can satisfy his heart (Psalms 90:14). The words abundant life, as used in John 10:10, have the connotation of that which is not ordinarily encountered, that which is extraordinary or remarkable. Jesus came to give us extraordinary life; it is out of the normal, a life that should be filled with joy always because God is at hand (Philippians 4:4-5). Living an abundant life must be lived with joy that comes from the Lord.
What are the benefits of living an Abundant Life?
- The first benefit of living an abundant life is that it confirms that you will see God (Hebrews 12:14). Living an abundant life is when you produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is evidence of your faith in Christ (Galatians 5:20-21).
- The second benefit is that God has commanded you to live in peace with everyone so long as it depends on you. As you live abundantly in the Lord, you will also live in peace with all around you. So you not only win favor with God but with people also (Proverbs 3:4).
- Thirdly, living abundantly makes us useful and effective in our service to God (2 Timothy 2:21). Sin makes us dishonorable, and our service to God becomes detestable as long as we sin. To serve God effectively in your life, you must do so in all purity and holiness; such is a service that God blesses and accepts as a sweet aroma. Therefore, if you intend to serve God, flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 1:22).
- Lastly, living in holiness glorifies the Lord and is a witness to the world that they too may know God and glorify his name (1 Peter 2:9-12). We should keep our conduct among unbelievers honorable so that when they speak against us as evildoers, they may see our good deeds and glorify God.
Are you living an abundant life? Did you think that because you are wealthy, prosperous, and healthy, you are living an abundant life? Far from it! If you are not a believer of Christ and you are not walking in holiness, no matter how much money you have, how healthy you feel, and how much success you have, your life is not abundant; in fact, it is waiting for the wage of sin which is separation from God forever in hell (Rom 6:23). Turn to Jesus today in faith, repent of your sins, and begin believing God is abounding in mercy and faithful to forgive your sins so that you can live an abundant life.