November 18

Abundant Life?

John 10:10b I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy;

at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

A promise we gratefully take to ourselves is Jesus’ words in John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” On the surface, it can be taken to mean that He has come to give us a great and blessed life. That’s true. The “rub,” to quote Hamlet, is what “abundant life” means.

Some believers have ended up stumbling over the verse not because of what it says, but because of how we interpret it. If we think Jesus is promising a life of temporal blessings, constant good health, and lollypops and rainbows, then we might become sadly disappointed in His “failure” to give us that life. It’s more than a matter of defining terms; it’s about which reality we are focusing on and our ability to see and understand the greatest one.

Luke 12:15 says And [Jesus] said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” We readily agree, but then where do we focus, and where do we find our joy? We focus on Him (Hebrews 12:2) and on “grow[ing] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18).

Our “abundant life” is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), which means we have to set our sights and hearts on the Lord to see and receive that life. It’s about knowing Him and His call on our lives. It’s about knowing Him and taking to heart all His promises to us—peace, joy, forgiveness, and abundant grace. It’s about knowing Him and enjoying the eternal life working in our lives now, a kind of life that will continue into the next life. It’s coming to savor the joy of His presence and the pleasures of being at His right hand.

To enjoy the abundant life Jesus has promised, we must first “set [our] mind[s] on things above, not on things on earth.” There is nothing in this natural world that can contribute to this kind of abundant life. We may or may not have material things, or the health we’d like, or the ability to travel the world. But as we lift up our eyes on things above, we begin to take on the heart of Jeremiah:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches. But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me” (9:23-24).

Prayer: Father, forgive me for ever accusing You of denying me any aspect of an abundant life. In You, I have everything I need and everything I ever will. Help me to continually set my mind and heart on things above.