“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
John 10:10 (Amplified)
Okay… confession. For the longest time, the idea of an abundant life had always been a little abstract. In theory it sounds pretty good: to have AND enjoy life…to the full… till it overflows. But, unfortunately, for way too long, the only things that had been full and overflowing at my house were diapers, the dishwasher, the laundry basket, and every now and again, a toilet bowl. I had cultivated inaccurate assumptions about living an abundant life. I wrongfully assumed that putting my hope and trust in Jesus would “magically” make all things better…more accurately, I thought it would immediately change my heart, if not my circumstances.
With regard to John 10:10, the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries notes: Jesus does not offer an extension of physical life nor an increase of material possessions, but the possibility, nay the certainty, of a life lived at a higher level in obedience to God's will and reflecting His glory. (So, for the record, abundance has nothing to do with a prolonging of life or obtaining wealth.) Instead, it speaks to the fact that acknowledging Jesus’s lordship, surrendering to it through baptism, is only the first step. The abundant life, promised to us here in John 10:10, is found when we live in obedience and reflect His glory. This isn’t a “one-and-done” scenario. It’s a day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute, journey where the ordinary days far out number the extraordinary ones. When we simply must do our best in serving God… no matter where we are: at work, at home, with friends.
In his book, The Jesus Life, Stephen Smith states, “Dailiness is where we most long for our transformation- whether it involves losing your temper with your child, speaking curtly to someone at work, losing patience in the checkout line at the store, arguing with your spouse and then muttering words you hope he or she doesn’t hear, or neglecting your prayers or Bible reading for long seasons.” This is the “challenge” of redefining the abundant life for so many of us. The abundance Jesus speaks of isn’t found when we escape our seemingly mundane realities… it’s found IN the mundane realities, the commonplace, the humdrum, the monotonous. This is where the transformation takes place; where Jesus takes a hold of our hearts and molds them; aligns them with His… when we learn to appreciate where we are...no longer longing to be somewhere else, because we truly understand that He is enough... that He is the abundance.
Smith goes on to say the following: “The abundant life is not based on a plethora of options that seem exciting, life-giving and dramatic. If this were so, then Americans above all people groups in the world would be living the abundant life, simply because we have the most choices. But as I have said, if you were to ask American Christians to use five adjectives to describe the Christian life, would you hear abundant often?” And that, my friends, is a very good question…
Today, practice the “dailiness” of following Jesus. Spend some time thinking about obstacles, or strongholds, you’ve had in the past (or that you’re currently struggling with). Whether it’s in your interactions with your children, or a co-worker that you’re not too friendly with, show them the love of Jesus. Offer them a cup a coffee with a smile (the co-workers, not the kids!), or simply take time out of your day to be intentional in your interactions. Sit down and invest your time in someone… this is the basis of discipleship.