“God himself is the abundant life you seek.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 12, 2021
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
A friend once called me and expressed how lonely and frustrated she was that God hadn’t delivered the top desire on her list: a husband. Never married and now forty, she was tired of praying and waiting. Most of all, she was convinced that her life was somehow “less-than.” “Being single is not the abundant life,” she stated emphatically.
At the time, I was in my early forties and I identified with the emotions of feeling like the only girl without a date to the high school prom. I empathized with her loneliness, her cries late at night when only God can hear, and a zillion prayers for a man she wasn’t even sure exists. But the absence of abundant life? I had certainly felt that way during different seasons when I was looking for fulfillment in a relationship, but wasn’t sure that being single meant forfeiting the promise of abundant life.
Our conversation sent me running for my Bible, where I found John 10:10— “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” The word “life” jumped off the page. I had to look up its meaning.
I pulled out my New Testament Word Study Bible to find the definition. In it I found the prescription for my friend’s sickness of heart: God himself is the abundant life she seeks. The word “life” is the Greek word zoe (the original language) and means— “Life,” referring to the principle of life in the spirit and the soul. [Zoe is] all the highest and best that Christ is, which He gives to the Saints. The highest blessedness of the creature” (emphasis added).
This abundant life is internal—in the spirit, in the soul, God given, the highest blessing we can receive. This abundant life is Christ himself!
How many times have we heard preachers talk about abundant life as if it’s something to be apprehended through something external, like our possessions, accomplishments, or something else on our list of desires?
Instead, Christ says, “This abundant life that you’re looking for—it’s who I am, it’s internal, and it’s found through relationship with me. If you’ll let me, I’ll run circles around any hope, dream, or desire on your list.”
Because we have little control over our lives, isn’t it a comfort to know that abundant life is not “out there” somewhere, but it’s a free gift of God? This abundant life in the spirit and the soul is what inspired Paul to write about God from a prison cell, and it’s what moved the psalmists and numerous other saints to praise in the midst of loneliness, starvation, destitution, and even sin.
When we know that He is life, we’ve found satisfaction in Him, and He tops our desires, we become willing to give up and surrender that which we thought we could never live without.
This abundant life through relationship with Christ is the reason Paul was willing to give up everything he considered valuable:
“Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him (Philippians 3:7-9).
Paul had nothing on his list that surpassed knowing Christ— nothing—and this led to abundant life for Paul, rather than feeling as if he had been cheated. I want to be more like Paul. How about you?
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).
Lord, I praise you that you are enough. When I feel as if I have been denied, help me to remember to trust your heart and love for me. Amen.
Is there anything on your list of desires and dreams that surpasses your desire to know Christ? Talk to the Lord about this and submit to Him, lest the Adversary use your desires against you to discourage you and cause you to turn from Christ.
Hillsong United feat. Lauren Daigle: I Surrender
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