Summary: A close look at what the God-promised abundant life is and what it means for us as Christians.
Christ said in John 10:10 “I came that they might have life, and might have it more abundantly.”
I think we can easily find Christians who don’t seem to be different from the rest of the world. I bet it would be difficult to pick them out as Christians at a party or a ball game. This is part of the reason that the world views Christianity with such skepticism. They ask, “What difference does being a Christian make?” We have the churchy words for them, but do we demonstrate the difference? My guess is that those who don’t appear to be different from the rest of the crowd are not living an abundant life. The life that Christ came to give all of us.
The easy way to approach this lesson is to describe what makes up the abundant life. If someone is living an abundant life, what does it look like, and how does it look different than other people? I can’t answer these questions unless I have a clear understanding of what the word abundant really means.
So, how do we understand this word abundant? In John 10:10, Christ uses the Greek word “perissos” pronounced per-is-sos’. In this context, it means ‘superior in quantity or quality’ ‘exceedingly’ ‘very high’ ‘advantage’ ‘beyond measure’. This is the exact same word that Paul uses in Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” A clue to our understanding of this word is to think about whom Paul is speaking--God.
Being saved is great. It’s vital. But it’s not the end—-it’s the beginning. There’s so much more that will fulfill us, complete us, satisfy us, and make us joyful. So, if Christ promised abundancy, why do we go through life as Christians and appear not much different than our non-Christian friends?
Allow me to outline 5 things that illustrate the abundant life so we can live a fulfilled life in Christ.
The first of the five keys is to understand that an abundant life is a yielded life. To what are we yielded? We can find the answer in Romans 6:10-14.
The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Now there’s a lot of complicated stuff in those five verses. But, what we must see in there is that as Christians, we have a choice about how we live. If we look carefully at the passage, we see that we have a choice to make. The choice is whether to yield to God or to the world. If we yield to God, we will enjoy an abundant life. If we yield to sin, we will have to endure a defeated life.
But what does yielding our lives mean? It means we must give our whole selves to God, all of our heart, mind, soul, body and will. The following quote, I don’t know where I ran across it, is helpful when considering yielding ourselves totally to God: "God would have you know the power of a yielded life; it will lift you above circumstances that circumvent abundant living. The abundant life begins when you yield to Him as Master, allowing Him to live His life through you by faith."
This may all sound more difficult than we can achieve. And, in fact, it is. We cannot live a life like this alone. We need Christ and His people in our lives in order to live this way.
We need Christ because of His strength and His ability to live through us. Christ is our great example and model for a yielded life. First, He yielded to the Father’s plan to leave His throne in heaven and take human form to endure the life of man. He subjected Himself to the tyranny of man and was even obedient to the point of crucifixion on the cross. He allowed Himself to be separated from the Father in order to provide an eternal relationship with the Father for all of us. He led a completely yielded life.
We need God’s people for fellowship and accountability. For a healthy Christian existence, we cannot neglect the gathering of ourselves together for worship, for fellowship, for friendship and to hold each other accountable to be obedient to God’s will and word. This is yielded living among our brethren.