For a reminder of what I am doing this month, read this post.
“The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” NASB
I’ve tacked the NASB (New American Standard Bible) at the end there because while this verse comes from Air1, I wanted a different version than what they were using (the NLT).
I could focus on the first half of this verse, and I had actually planned to. But I don’t want to give the enemy any more time than he has already had. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. That is enough for us to know – to know that we cannot be his friend, no matter what some people may think or say. I would rather focus on the second half – that Jesus came to give us life – and not just life, but abundant life.
The best way I know to describe abundance is to think of a table set with food for a meal. A table ready to host a meal could have very simple things on it – bread, a bit of meat, some cheese maybe, water, fruit and vegetables perhaps. An abundant table, however, would be covered in the best foods – the makings of a gourmet meal, a plethora of choices for us to satisfy any taste we might have. Think buffet style, but really great quality to boot. Our lives could be like the first table and we would survive. We could have life in a number of different ways – one resembling a bare table: the life without Christ, one with meager offerings: the life with Christ but lacking any excitement or growth, or this last table: one overfilling with beauty, intimacy with Christ, joy, peace, love. It is this last life that Jesus came to give us – not just the life that brushes up against Him, but the life that entwines with Him.
I think the key word in thinking about abundant life is joy. Joy is possible even in the worst circumstances when we have relationship with Christ and are accepting and desiring of this abundance. The difference between happiness and joy is huge – happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting. When I have felt drained of joy, I have been out of touch with Christ.
So how do we have this abundant life? First and foremost, we must accept Jesus as Saviour and turn from our sins. But the journey of course does not stop here. We must seek to move from infancy in relationship with Christ to maturity in this relationship. As we mature and grow and make time for Him each day, we will begin to experience this abundance. It may not necessarily be visible to us in this world (i.e. wealth, popularity, health, etc.), but we can feel that abundance deep down in us in the form of joy and peace.
I hope to someday be living the abundant life more often than not. Unfortunately, I, like many others, tend to focus too much on the here and now and not enough on eternity. I focus on piles of laundry, my tiny little house, disobedient children, illness and unfulfilled desires. I ought to focus on what impact this part of my life will have in eternity. Have I spoken a kind word to someone in need? Have I fed the poor, cared for the widow and orphan? Have I been looking beyond the material world and into the spiritual? It is another lifelong journey, just like that of putting to death the old and sinful man – it is not something we can expect to be good at immediately.
At the moment, I would like to focus on my incredible fatigue and the overwhelmed feeling I get when I look around me at my home. I know better, though, then to stop on those thoughts. I can give these things to God, lay them at His feet and move on. Think on what He has blessed me with, the abundance I live with each day of my life. When I think about these things, the material world seems very inconsequential.
This verse of the day comes from Air1.