"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10....."Abundant life refers to life in its abounding fullness of joy and strength for mind, body, and soul. Abundant life signifies a contrast to feelings of lack, emptiness and dissatisfaction, and such feelings may motivate a person to seek for the meaning of life and a change in their life." One definition of what is considered "abundant life."......"The development of Christian life is only the development of Jesus Christ in that life." T. Austin-Sparks
Jesus has offered abundant life, and we certainly want and seek that life. So, why do we so often fail to enter into it? Could a great part of the reason be in how we define it? Does our definition bear much if any resemblance to His? When I went online to seek a definition of what abundant life is, I took the one listed above. There is no lack of people who feel an emptiness in their hearts and sadly, many of them are found to be among the professing followers of Christ. Most if not all, want to have that emptiness filled, and seek that end with a great amount of energy. The tragic failure here is that we so often define abundance to be centered upon things, people, or feelings. Christ centers it upon a Person, Himself.
T.Austin-Sparks sees Christ's words, "I came that they may have life," as, "I am come that they may have the same consciousness of God as Father that I have and that they may have the same divine nature in them as I have." Some say we should not try to make Scripture say what it is not saying, and I completely agree, but can we doubt Sparks' take on Christ's words in light of all scripture? In Ephesians, Paul writes that He will do "exceedingly abundantly beyond all we can ask or think." Is this just limited to goods and feelings and relationships? When Jesus prayed that we would be in Him as He is in the Father, isn't He praying that we would know the kind of life that He has? No, we cannot have that life in the same fullness that He does, but we can have it in the all the fullness we can receive of it.
The witness of Christ's life was that in any and all situations, He was at total peace, living in the fullness of joy, and always in victory. Nothing that happened around Him could affect or destroy what was going on within Him. The devil, in a full frontal assault, could not steal it from Him. He was, knew, and lived abundant life, even on the cross. This is the life that He gives. Is it the life we have? Paul said he had nothing, but that in Christ he had all things. He said that he could live as a doormat to others if need be, because he knew he lived and reigned with Christ in all things. Circumstances, opinions of others, and the appearance of failure in his life did not change his knowledge or experience of His abundant life. He lived in victory even when the enemy and the world thought him defeated. He had the life Christ came to give. Do we?
For too much of my walk, I thought abundance was marked by stuff, position, and outer well being. It was only through the lack of such that He was able to get my attention, and open my eyes to what true abundance is. It is, as Sparks says, the ongoing development of His life within us. I confess, I still get caught up in the wrong ideas about abundance. When I do, it is then that He shows me how the devil uses my seeking that which is not life, to try and steal all that is. Wherever we seek after that which is not Him, we can be sure, the thief is succeeding in stealing and destroying our lives.
Anne Graham Lotz wrote a book titled "Just Give Me Jesus." May it be that you and I have such a heart cry as well. The enemy will array all that is not Him before us, in hopes that we will seek to find fullness in them. Let's rebuke his offer each time with the simple prayer, just give me Jesus. In Him is life abundant.
Anything else or less, is not life at all.