Abundant living. What does that phrase generate in your mind? Abundant living. Just ponder it for a moment. What does that really mean? Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ”
If I go to my old pal Mr. Webster, abundant means a great plenty. The best way to consider this abundant terminology for me is in relation to my now 15 year old son, who is nearly 6’3″ tall. When he is hungry, he seeks food in abundance. One Hot Pocket fresh from the microwave is not going to fill that child up. No. He needs plenty to eat. He seeks abundance. Now, take that same kiddo to his favorite all you can eat buffet. Now that’s abundant dining. He can eat as much as he would like of each food on the buffet, until he can’t eat another bite. That’s plenty. Having enough to eat, and not having to stop until he is ready to roll out on the wheelbarrow, now that is plenty. Any of you who currently have, or have raised teenage boys know what I mean. My boy wants food in abundance. That abundant…plenty satisfies his hunger pains. At least for 30 or 45 minutes.
Let’s go back to how Jesus used “abundantly” in John 10:10. Jesus said, “…I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus desires that we have plenty of life. As a matter of fact, He goes beyond just plenty. Jesus came so that we would have life everlasting. Talk about taking abundant and plentiful to the extreme. Jesus tells us that through Him, we will receive life everlasting. That means, never ending. Your supply never runs low, you never have to wait for a refill, you will always have that abundant life when you live in Christ. Everlasting and abundant. Now that’s some serious food for thought!
So how do I cash in on this abundant life that scripture tells me about. Let me take a moment and say that scripture is filled with the promise of everlasting life! I’m looking at just one mention of it. So, take some time to sit down with God’s word and read it yourself. You’ll be amazed at the abundance with which your spirit is filled when you ready God’s love letter to you!
Ok…abundant life. Let’s go back to the early days in scripture. Back up to the Old Testament and read Deuteronomy. This is the place where we experienced some major league abundant living. The Israelites…God’s chosen people…had been held captive in Egypt under Pharaoh’s rule. They were living in slavery. God freed them by casting all sorts of plagues on Pharaoh and his people. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself! God did some awesome stuff! Read it with your kids! Let them see just how awesome and powerful God is with you! So, God freed the Israelites, and told them that he would lead them to a new land just for them. It was the Promised Land. The land of milk and honey. Better yet, it was overflowing! Overflowing with milk and honey. Don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me. Apparently it did to the Israelites as well.
God decided to use a trusted man in the Israelite community…Moses. He would speak to Moses, and direct him as to how to speak to the Israelites, eventually he would lead them close to the Promised Land. I’m not going to ruin the story if you don’t know it, so I’m not going to tell you more about Moses. Check it out for yourself! Ok, so back to God speaking to Moses. God tells Moses that he has this special place for his chosen people. A place where they would live life abundantly. They would have all that they need, and they would never be slaves again. Sounds good right! The catch here is that Moses had to do what God was telling him to do. Then, the Israelites had to do what Moses told them God had directed.
There was all sorts of confusion, complaining, and contemplation that occurred within the Israelites over the time they traveled. I can only imagine what traveling with 1,000,000 people might be like. You’ll find that because they were hard headed, and didn’t alway do what they were supposed to do, they ended up wandering around the desert for 40 years. Talk about someone who needed to stop and ask for directions, and then FOLLOW them! There came a day when Moses was so close to the Promised Land that he could see it. He went to a mountain top and was able to see for miles and miles. In Deuteronomy 34:4, “Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” God was allowing Moses to spiritually window shop.
Moses hadn’t always done all that God had told him to do. Nor had the Israelites. So, God allowed Moses to see the Promised Land, but he was not going to allow him to experience it. God had to dish out punishment to his children for disobedience, just as we do. God would allow Moses to spiritually window shop. Do you ever have times when you see God’s word on a page, and you get excited, but you never really get to experience it for one reason or another? Are you really sharing God’s vision? Or are you just digging his ideas? It’s really like window shopping.
The other day, my husband and enjoyed a lunch date at a local outdoor mall. As we stepped from the car we looked across the parking lot to see an Off Broadway Shoe store. Woohoo!! Shoes! You know every fabulous woman needs an assortment of shoes to boost her fabulousness. My husband smiled and asked if I would like to go to Off Broadway and look at shoes after lunch. Hello!! Sounds good to me. After enjoying our sweet time at lunch, we walked out of the restaurant ready to visit the shoe store. I immediately stopped dead in my tracks. The sign on the window said, “coming soon”. Ugh. No new shoes for Momma today. We decided to drive by the store to see if it was posted when they were opening. There, standing in the misting rain, were women with their faces pressed to the windows. Hands were cupped over their eyes…trying to see what the store had to offer. I proclaimed that they were obviously opening soon, because I could see stacks of shoes from the windows. What were we all doing? Window shopping. Standing back, looking to see all that Off Broadway would soon offer to the woman with a never ending need for fabulous shoes.
What do we do when we read God’s word, and love his visions. We see his ideas, and his promises, and we get excited. The question is, are we simply going to stand back and window shop? Or, are we going to walk in and experience all that he has for us? It was once God put the comparison on my heart that I realized something important. I don’t just want to see God’s visions, and look through the window at his promises. I want to experience them…like new shoes. I want to put on the promises of God. I want to hold them, touch them, feel all that they have to offer. I want to experience the joy of abundant living, not simply stand back wondering what that might look like for me. Don’t you?