Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Abundant Life

Been doing a lot of learning, via Bible study, listening to sermons, small group discussions, etc regarding the abundant life that Jesus promises His followers... here are some thoughts:

I am fairly convinced that the abundant life is multifaceted as a diamond, and one of these facets is regarding the fact that there is much of the abundant life that isn't really about me at all... the abundant life Jesus is promising is a life lived to the full. It is not about material gain or anything that I can amass in this world. The abundant life is defined by the eternal life that we are promised when we choose to answer the call of our True Shepherd and take up our cross, denying ourselves daily, and follow Jesus. Jesus tells us that the eternal life He promises is found in the full knowledge of God, and the belief in the One He sent. In other words, the abundant life is a life that is lived in the fullness of the glory of God. When we choose to surrender ourselves to the work of Christ in us and through us, then we get to gather glimpses of the full glory, and the eternal Kingdom. The abundant life exists for the same reason that we all exist, for the glory and enjoyment of God. Its not about us, its about God, and His infinite glory.

We get brought in through another facet... The more we grow in our knowledge and belief, the deeper we get into the understanding of God, the more of these glimpses we will find. Living in the fully glory of our Father and His Son is the abundant life. It is a life that breeds full contentment and joy in way that cannot be attained by the means of this earth. It is a craving that grows within each of us that we will try to satisfy or quiet by the methods of the world... we will try to gain deeper understanding of life, truth, science, anything... or we will tempt the craving on with success, money, material wealth, food, sex, whatever... and yet we will lack lasting joy, peace and contentment until we surrender to the abundant life.

Another note, I don't think there is a limit to the abundant life. We try to quantify things, try to make it a manageable size, so we can study, examine, and understand. We do it with God all the time, and we do it with the abundant life. I've done it in this post, stating that it is the fullness of the glory of God. I put a limit on it... sure the limit is God's fullness, but ultimately God is limitless. We are reminded in other verses of scripture that God is capable of accomplishing all that we ask, and abundantly more than we can fathom. The abundant life of God is a joy, peace, and contentment that reaches to unfathomable depths. It is unshakeable, unbreakable, unending, limitless... just like God Himself... and why? Because the abundant life is the fullness of God's glory!

When Jesus tells His disciples that He will give them life, and give it more abundantly, or to the full... it is a promise that a life lived for the glory of Christ is not a life without fruit. We are promised that, as followers of Christ, that we will experience the fullness of God's glory. We have the ability to, now, live under the authority of Christ, as an agent of subversion, to live radically bent against the rebellion of this world. We are no longer citizens of a fallen world, but we have been adopted into the family of an eternal father. We are no longer identified by who we are, but alone by who Christ is within us. And when we walk ahead boldly confident into the face of the world, into the fallen disgrace of humanity, we do so under the authority of God's glory. The abundant life is also a promise of freedom. Freedom from the chains... freedom to declare that we were once slave to our master of sin, but we choose now to be a slave of the one true Christ... to be, as Paul and others declared, a bondservant of Christ. An abundant life is a life spent in the service of Christ, doing the work of the ministry that Jesus calls each of us to.

The abundant life promises me that I am a vine of the branch of Jesus, and that if I will abide in Him, He will make His home in me, and through me He will bear much fruit. The abundant life is a promise of a life with purpose. The purpose to live for the glory of God alone, by the name of Christ alone, knowing that you were bought by the blood of Jesus. Knowing that you were saved by grace through faith... but that you were saved to good works because faith without works is dead. So many books have been written to help mankind find his purpose in this life, to answer the question of "why am I here?" The answer is simple, the chief end of man is the glory of God. That is your purpose, that is why you are here... to glorify God, to reflect His glory, and enjoy His love.

If you say that that makes no sense to you, thats fine, it doesn't need to right now. We are also promised that so many of the words of Jesus will be seen as foolish by those whose eyes God has not opened. If you wish you could experience the abundant life, to feel the peace and contentment that was promised by Jesus, but it just sounds like a bunch of nonsense... take comfort in knowing that your desire to understand is the first step. Pray for God to open your eyes and your mind, seek Him, seek those who have found Him, let us help you to understand... If you feel like you managed to find peace, joy, or contentment without having need of God... you need to know that there is even deeper, more lasting, and perfectly better versions available.

Anyway, just some of the thoughts I have had lately...

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