The Abundant Life
I have noticed over my span of 46 years of ministry that many churches call themselves by the name, “Abundant Life Church.” I like that very much! Abundant Life Methodist! Abundant Life Assembly of God! Abundant Life Lutheran! My heart rejoices when I read it along the streets and roads of America, and I am sure, across the world as well. Plus, it is very appealing seeing that everyone in the world and in the church is looking for abundance. It has a catchy ring to it! It has, as they say, real curb appeal.
A few years ago there was in the toy store’s bike department a breed of bicycle called “Li’l Dominator.” It was small and was painted an ominous black, and it had the wicked, blunt look of an automatic pistol. Frankly, you could go a step further and say that it was the perfect first bike for a future wife-beater.
However, we are not dealing with the “Li’l Dominator” here, but we are dealing with a very “Large Dominator” that is painted an alluring gold, and has the seductive look of an available woman. Hopefully and prayerfully, by the time the Word of God gets done with us, the black wheels will fall from this “Li’l Dominator,” and the gold heels will fall off from the “Large Dominator.”
And if you look closely, by the end of this teaching, you will see two twisted black and gold forms receding into the distant background, and the true form of “The Authentic Abundant Life” emerging front stage and center.
THE GAME CHANGER
However, before we go any further, we have to pop a lot of ABUNDANT LIFE BALLOONS that are floating over the national and ecclesiastical landscape. This may come as a shock to hoards of “Abundant Lifers,” and that is this:
“JESUS CHRIST CLEARLY TEACHES IN HIS LIFE AND IN
HIS WORDS THAT THE TRUE ABUNDANT LIFE
HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH
MONEY OR THINGS OR POSSESSIONS.”
Shazaam! How is that for a real game changer, if not in many instances, a total game stopper? If you will, “THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.” This surely comes as a Fox News Alert and a Church Channel Bomb! Why? Because it totally deflates “The Modern Abundant Life Hot Air Balloon!” The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow suddenly rusts before our very eyes! Lushness, plushness, muchness becomes nothingness! The modern world and modern church’s definition of “The Abundant Life” has just been shredded.
In the Old Testament and the New Testament, we are about to read a “Double Shazaam!” The Wise-Man and The God-Man come along and throw cold water all over the “Modern Ecclesiastical Money-Stuff Abundant-Life Scam,” cold water that is generally not warmly received by those who have been taught lies about “The Abundant Life.”
First the words of the Wise-man. Did you know that God is not an American Dreamer? That is why we read words in the Bible like those in Ecclesiastes 5:10,
“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor
he who loves abundance with its income.
This too is vanity.”
Secondly the words of the God-Man. We read the equally powerful words of Jesus in Luke 12:15,
“…Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed;
for not even when one has an abundance does
his life consist of his possessions.”
Powerful words in both cases! Man’s great love affair, the love of money! Now God tells him that the love of money is a bust, and the love of material abundance is emptiness (vanity). What a shot in the heart and the head, for there has never been such an intense love affair as man’s love of money and stuff. It is the greatest romance ever known to the human race.
Kawaam! The Bible not only tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10), but it tells us that the love of money is the main root of human dissatisfaction and disillusionment. (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Suddenly we feel like the child who traded with his brother his favorite bath toy for a bottle of soap bubbles that all go poof.
Then our Lord in His teaching speaks some more absolutely banger-truths in Luke 12:15,
“THAT TRUE AND REAL LIFE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH EARTHLY ABUNDANCE,
SO DON’T GET GREEDY OVER NOTHING.”
Lord have mercy! This shoots the core value system of humanity, and in many cases of religious humanity as well, right out of the water. It rips apart the modern religious definition of “The Abundant Life.”
And another ringing truth inferred in Luke 12:15 is this:
“WHILE EARTHLY RICHES ARE ABLE TO MAKE A MAN
GREEDY, GREED HAS NEVER MADE ANY
MAN TRULY RICH.”
It appears that the more money and possessions man acquires the emptier he feels, and then the more he needs to try to fill his emptiness with more bucks and stuff. It is a vicious cycle. It brings to mind the equally tragic reality as an analogy, which is this:
“THE ONLY REASON THE DRUNK CONTINUES TO DRINK
MORE, IS THAT HE DRANK TOO MUCH ALREADY.”
And likewise the only reason that people continue to buy is that they bought too much already. It is so sad but so very true:
“THAT EVEN AS DRUNKS DRINK THEMSELVES THIRSTIER,
AND EVEN AS THE GLUTTONOUS EAT THEMSELVES
HUNGRIER, SO TOO THE GREEDY BUY
In short, the reason that the covetous and greedy person is always feeling himself in want of more, is because what he has already just doesn’t get the job done, and therefore requires more of the same.
Corporate and consumer greed has gotten America into her present economic woes, and greed will continue to be her undoing. And so, the world is more sharply than ever divided into creditors and debtors who are guarding themselves against each other in a recessionary economy. And if you are not one, then you are surely the other.
WHAT IS THE ABUNDANT LIFE?
What then, according to Jesus Christ is the abundant life? Jesus said in John 14:6,
“I AM the way, and the truth, and THE LIFE; no one comes
to the Father, but through Me.”
Then Jesus said in John 10:10,
“…I CAME that they might HAVE LIFE, and might have
In short, the answer to the question about what exactly is the abundant life that the Bible talks about is this, “The question as asked is erroneous.” Why? Because true, abundant life is not a WHAT but a WHO! In short:
“JESUS CHRIST IS THE ABUNDANT LIFE.”
He says so! Not Jesus plus something else! Jesus only is the abundant life! THE ABUNDANT LIFE comes immediately from Christ Himself, and is not mediated from Him through cash or stuff or anything else. He Himself is the direct Mediator of everything fulfilling and satisfying and eternal.
Every man in this world has all or nothing depending upon the presence or absence of Jesus Christ in his life. For you must understand that only the Son of God is the abundant life, and He is all of that and more in ways that the fullest bank accounts, biggest houses, the most luxurious cars, yachts, and jets cannot begin to be.
More specifically, we read in Numbers 17:11 about man’s physical life,
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood….”
It means that the blood of man doesn’t just carry the nutrients to keep man healthy, but much more the life of natural man is the blood itself. So too, when it comes to spiritual life, eternal life, abundant life:
“THE ABUNDANT LIFE IS IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS.”
Contrary to public opinion, and contrary to modern religious opinion, the abundant life is not found in Las Vegas, lotto tickets, or Publishers Clearing House. It is found alone in the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All of this and more is why the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 6:10 wrote these astonishing words,
“…as having nothing yet possessing all things.”
You’ve got to be kidding! Paul, are you serious? Are you trying to be clever with your words? Are you Paul caught up in some reckless verbal exaggeration for shock value like we are all prone to do at times? Having nothing and yet having everything? No, Paul is not here being caught away in a contrived and fabricated religion of Jesus being the abundant life without a single additive. He is saying:
“IF I HAVE NOTHING BUT JESUS I HAVE EVERYTHING, BUT IF
I HAVE EVERYTHING BUT JESUS I HAVE NOTHING.”
The Apostle Paul is talking about an amazing life in which it is possible to look at our neighbor’s mega-stuff when by contrast we have zero, and yet never once covet any of it.
Paul is describing an actual state of being in which it is possible to look at all that the world has to offer, and though we have zero, yet we do not need or desire it.
He is describing an actual state in life where it is possible to have a body and a bank account both in poor health, and yet have fullness of life.
There it is! A life called in the Bible, “The Abundant Life” which is Jesus Christ and is found only in the blood of Jesus Christ. Peace that passes understanding! Love that passes knowledge! Joy that is unspeakable and full of glory!
THE BIOS LIFE
The English language has only one word for all kinds of life, whether it is physical life, psychological life, or spiritual life – LIFE. In many ways the English language is an impoverished language, though the world and us would be impoverished without it.
But the Greek language in which the New Testament was written is much richer and definitive. It is critically necessary for us in trying to understand THE ABUNDANT LIFE, to realize that the Greek language uses three different Greek words for LIFE, all of which we translate by our one English word – LIFE, thereby missing all of the nuances and different shades of meaning. The English word LIFE really conceals more than it reveals.
FIRST, one word that is translated LIFE in the Greek New Testament is the Greek noun “BIOS,” from which we derive the English words “Biology” and “Biological” and more recently “Biosphere.”
Now then, the first Greek word for LIFE – BIOS has a much wider meaning, and does not only refer to our biological/physical life, but also to material reality in general. It not only refers to matters of the human body, but also to investments, holdings, things, possessions etc. BIOS!
Man from time immemorial has tried to find THE ABUNDANT LIFE in BIOS. Man in his fallen and sinful states has always and will always major in bios. Man’s natural self is totally bios oriented. Man is hooked on bios to try to find what he considers the abundant life – the good life. (More on that later) He views the rich and the famous as having found it, and he aspires his entire life to be like them.
BIOS is what drives man. The human body has good enzymes that work in the stomach to break down food into nutrients that the body must have. The human soul has bad BIOSzymes that break down money and stuff faster than man can consume them. Because of his out-of-control BIOSzymes, he must always have more and more bios like a drug addict needs more and more drugs.
WE have encountered the “Li’l Dominator Bicycle,” and now we encounter “The Terrible Tricycle.” We must understand the following truth! It is true of the BIOTIC NATURES of all men, namely, they think that their eureka is found at the end of the BIOS RAINBOW. This is all described in the Bible in three ways in I John 2:16,
1. The lust of the flesh.
2. The lust of the eyes.
3. The pride of life.
Which simply means this:
“BY NATURE EVERY HUMAN BEING CRAVES AND
IS DRIVEN BY SEX, STUFF, AND STATUS.”
If you will:
“NATURAL MAN IS AS TEASED AND RESPONSIVE TO
SEX, STUFF, AND STATUS AS A WELL-TUNED
SPORTS CAR IS RESPONSIVE TO HIGH
“THE TINIEST BIT OF MAMMON-TEASING WILL IGNITE
MAN WHICH MAKES HIM AN EASY TARGET IN
THE GREAT MALLS OF AMERICA.”
But according to Jesus, BIOS, far from being the abundant life, it is actually a life-drainer and a life-destroyer. We read Jesus saying in Luke 8:14 about those who are BIOS OBSESSED that they are,
“…choked with worries and riches and pleasures
of this LIFE (BIOS)….”
Oh yes, Jesus does say that there are short-lived pleasures in BIOS. But then it CHOKES MAN! Chokes man, mind you! What an awful word! Nothing really pleasurable about being choked! Have you ever choked on something or been choked by someone? People can choke on a piece of meat. Just the other day I was choking on a piece of pizza and thank God I coughed it up. Not a nice experience!
Man can also choke on bios, and often does. How? Choked with worries and cares! You know how it goes! The stock market’s frightening roller-coaster ride! Always having to protect and insure your investments for more and more, while they are becoming worth less and less these days. Equity has become liability. My house is being devalued while my property taxes are constantly going up. Inflation! Paying more for less! Just when you think you are gaining, you are losing.
Then on top of all of that, as Jesus said would be the case, moths and rust destroy our stuff if crooks don’t rip it off first. (Matthew 6:19) You buy a beautiful bedroom set and you find out that it has Dutch Elm Disease. And those bars in front of windows and doors are not there for decoration. Sooner or later, BIOS will always put a strong choke-hold of angst on its devotees and worshipers.
“BIOS WILL CHOKE THE LIFE OUT OF ITS ADDICTS.
IT DOESN’T GIVE LIFE, IT TAKES LIFE AWAY.”
If you will:
“MAN PUTS ALL OF HIS EGGS IN THE BIOS BASKET, AND
THEREFORE HE PUTS HIMSELF AT THE MERCY OF
THOSE THINGS WHICH HAVE NO MERCY.”
Worries! Cares! Fears! Very interesting! In this worry-filled, fear-filled society, the American Kennel Society tells us that at the beginning of the last quarter of the 20th century, cuddly poodles were the most popular purebred dogs in America. There were 139,750 registered poodles, and only 952 registered rottweilers. Rottweilers are of course a fiercer breed of dog, often used as guard dogs. Nearing the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st century, the poodle population had been cut in half to 61,775, while the rottweiler population had increased a hundred times to 102, 596.
Fear and worry have gone up as people’s standards of living have become more and more bios inflated. America is not only going to the dogs, but to the mean dogs as well. The fat cat needs the mean dog! That is why more and more American children and adults are being attacked by predator-pets.
In short, the BIOS-FOCUSED LIFE has the greatest potential to produce fears, worries, migraines, and even sleeplessness. We read in Ecclesiastes 5:12,
“…But the full stomach of the rich man does not
allow him to sleep.”
As one man put it, “I buy things on the ‘lay awake’ plan. I lay awake each night trying to figure out how I am going to pay for it.”
Far more tragic are the Religious Humanism TV Personalities and Church Pastors today who are deceiving people into thinking that “The ABUNDANT LIFE” is the “BIOS LIFE.” A prominent TV preacher recently said to his church and viewing audience:
“YOU AIN’T GONNA HAVE NO LOVE AND JOY AND
PEACE UNTIL YOU GET SOME MONEY…YOU
GOTTA GET SOME MONEY.”
He is not only rewriting the Bible, but actually is writing his own Bible. What he said is a bold-faced lie and corrupts people’s minds and hearts. They are being led by pastors to think that love, joy, and peace is found in BIOS – MONEY. I have to say to that pastor and pastors like him, “YOU ARE FULL OF BIOS.”
We are told this in Galatians 5:22,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace….”
If you will:
“LOVE, JOY, AND PEACE ARE THE FRUIT OF THE
HOLY SPIRIT AND NOT THE FRUIT OF BIOS.”
True, we “gotta” earn some money to be able to live in this world and fulfill the calling of God in our lives. That is a no-brainer! The Bible tells us that if we don’t work, we don’t eat. (II Thessalonians 3:10) And of course if we don’t eat we will not last long in our work.
In the church at Thessalonica, there were some lazy busybodies mooching off other people’s work and eating other people’s bread. God takes a dim view of moochers and lazy welfare recipients. He commands them to live a disciplined life which means working without complaining and eating their own hard-earned bread. (II Thessalonians 3:12)
God said to fallen Adam in Genesis 3:19,
“By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till
you return to the ground, because from it you
were taken; for you are dust, and to dust
you shall return.”
But we do not work, eat, and get money to have love, joy, and peace! Astonishing! If you want overflowing love, joy and peace in your life, then “Get Filled With The Holy Spirit,” and not “Fill Your Bank Accounts.” You “ain’t gonna” have true love and real joy and deep peace by getting filled with money and stuff. It “ain’t gonna” happen.
But because man is BIOS OBSESSED as his way to find “The Abundant Life,”
“MAN NOT ONLY TOILS IN SWEAT FOR BREAD AS THE
NECESSARY SUPPORT OF HIS PHYSICAL LIFE, BUT
HE LABORS FOR SUPERFLUITIES AND SPENDS
ALL OF HIS TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY IN
ACQUIRING AND HOARDING THAT
WHICH DOES NOT FULFILL
Furthermore, all of the Holy Spirit’s abundant life – love and joy and peace in the believer’s heart is Supernatural. You cannot get abundant/abounding love, joy, and peace from the NATURAL – BIOS. That is why the Bible tells us that God’s love is incomprehensible (Ephesians 3:19), His joy is unspeakable (I Peter 1:8), and His peace is not understandable (Philippians 4:7). We are talking about supernatural love, joy and peace that do not come through natural bios. Not a chance! Bios might give you a feeling of a surface peace after a storm, but only God can give us true peace in the midst of the financial storm that is buffeting Americans and America’s economy.
So full of BIOS are these Religious BIOS Humanists, that they even teach that wholeness and completeness in life are based upon having lots of bios. The same TV pastor states:
“WE ESTABLISHED LAST NIGHT THAT YOU ARE NOT
WHOLE UNTIL YOU GET YOUR MONEY.”
“YOU AREN’T WHOLE UNTIL YOU GET YOUR DOUGH.”
The poor person therefore is only half a person unless and until he “gets his money.”
Once again he is writing his own bible! The Word of God tells us something totally different. It tells us that Christ is our completeness, not cash. Colossians 2:10 says:
“And in Him you have been made complete….”
Can we fathom pastors who call themselves Christians and pastors believing and preaching that Christ plus cash equals personal wholeness, but Christ without cash equals personal incompleteness. Therefore, when you find Christ you have not found all that you need to be a whole person. If you will, there is only totality of personhood beyond and in addition to Christ.
Listen to it now:
“MODERN RELIGIOUS BIOS-HUMANISM TEACHES THAT
ONLY CHRIST PLUS BIOS CAN MAKE YOU
A WHOLE PERSON.”
“BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY TEACHES THAT CHRIST PLUS
NOTHING MAKES YOU A WHOLE PERSON.”
This means that you are a whole person when you are joined to Christ, but you are only a shell of a person when you are joined to bios! You see, everything and everyone’s worth in modern society and much of modern religion is now being measured by BIOS and not by CHRIST. It corrupts absolutely everyone involved in it and their entire perspective God and on life.
A husband/father was standing over his baby’s crib, staring down very intently with the baby sound asleep in the crib. His wife entered the room and silently watched her husband. She thought she saw on his face the wide range of emotions – rapture and wonder, admiration and awe, love and concern. Deeply touched, she moved close to him and put her arm around him. And with glistening eyes and with a trembling voice she said to her husband, “A penny for your thoughts.” Without hesitation the husband blurted out, “For the life of me, I can’t see how anybody can make a crib like this and charge $329.95.” She obviously thought that his heart was full of baby. Sorry, his head was full of bios. A parable of much of modern Christianity!
THE PSUCHE LIFE
SECOND, another Greek noun translated LIFE in the English New Testament is “PSUCHE” from which we derive the English words “Psychology” and “Psychiatry” and “Psychiatric” etc. But it is life that is not at all the same as BIOS. In short:
“PSUCHE REFERS TO OUR SOUL LIFE, THAT IS,
TO WHAT WE THINK, WHAT WE WANT,
AND WHAT WE FEEL.”
If you will, PSUCHE is the real SOUL FOOD of natural man:
“INDEPENDENT THINKING – SELF WILLING –
But be careful here, because body and soul, BIOS and PSUCHE, though separate, are very close in their interplay and their interaction. How well we know this:
“THE HUMAN SOUL SYMPATHIZES WITH THE HUMAN
BODY, BOTH IN ITS COMFORTS AND IN
“WINTER WEATHER NOT ONLY AFFECTS MY ARTHRITIS,
BUT IT AFFECTS MY MIND WITH THOUGHTS OF,
WILLINGNESS TOWARD, AND FEELINGS
How closely the BIOS impacts the PSUCHE and the PSUCHE impacts the BIOS. If any member of the body hurts, the mind immediately thinks of means of relief, the will wills strongly to do what is needed to get that relief, and the feelings feel fully with the body until that sweet relief can be found and administered.
You and I better pay close attention to the principles found in the Word of God, and in this case, to the principle found in Ephesians 5:29,
“for no one hated his own flesh, but nourishes
and cherishes it….”
Hear it strong:
“HOW QUICKLY THE PSUCHE-SOUL GETS DOMINATED BY
THE BIOS-BODY, AND THE REASON GETS
SWALLOWED UP BY THE SENSES.”
“THE DARLING OF THE HUMAN PSUCHE BY NATURE IS
THE HUMAN BIOS. THAT IS TO SAY, THE BODY
WITH ALL OF ITS POWERFUL SENSES FILLS
OUR THOUGHTS, ENGROSSES ALL OF OUR
DESIRES, AND DEMANDS THE SERVICES
OF ALL OUR ACTIONS.”
Now then, taking all of that closely into account, Jesus said something in John 10:15 which is the very foundation of our salvation. These were His words:
“…I lay down My life (PSUCHE) for the sheep.”
Now note that He did not say, “I LAY DOWN MY BIOS,” which He did lay down, but He said, “I LAY DOWN MY PSUCHE.” He laid down His SOULISH-PSUCHE thinking, wanting and feeling, and He did so for His sheep as their Good Shepherd.
If Jesus hadn’t laid down His PSUCHE, He would have never gone to the cross, for His already tortured BIOS on the Via Dolorosa would have gotten the best of His terrified PSUCHE which would totally sympathize with His Bios. And then He would have fled from the cross and not gone to it. His PSUCHE-LIFE had to be laid down, put down, held down, otherwise he would have thought, willed, felt sympathetically with HIS BIOS-BODY and not submitted to His Heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation.
There is no life, let alone abundant life, in what the psuche thinks, wants or feels. End of story! End of psuche! End of self! We have to lose all of that for Christ before we can follow Christ and find abundant life in Christ. Jesus tells us that in order for us to find life, we MUST LOSE PSUCHE. That is, like Christ, we must lay down our independent thinking, our self-willing, and our self-absorbed feelings. (Matthew 10:39)
So then, right now, whether you understand it all or not, say to your psuche, that is, to self’s natural thinking, wanting and feeling, “Get Lost!” Good! Because until you do, you cannot “Get Saved.” Now you are a candidate for the abundant life in Christ.
THE ZOE LIFE
THIRD, it is essential to note that when the Bible talks about “The Abundant Life,” it uses neither the noun BIOS nor the noun PSUCHE. When the New Testament speaks about “The Abundant Life,” it always uses a totally different noun. It is the word “ZOE” from which we get no English derivatives whatsoever. None! Why? Because there is nothing like this ZOE-LIFE in the entire world! Nothing! “The Abundant Life” cannot be found in the natural, only in the supernatural. “The Abundant Life” cannot be found in BIOS or PSUCHE. It can be found nowhere and in no one else but in the Son of God our Savior Jesus Christ Who is ZOE. Let’s see how this works out!
I therefore repeat some verses from Scripture along with some new ones here, each and all of them being of supreme importance. Jesus says in John 10:10,
“…I came that they might have life (ZOE), and might
have it abundantly.”
Jesus says in John 14:6,
“…I am the way, and the truth, and the life (ZOE)….”
We read in Colossians 3:4,
“When Christ, Who is our life (ZOE), is revealed, then you
also shall be revealed with Him in glory.”
And there is that magnificent truth in I John 5:12 which states:
“He who has the Son has the life (ZOE); he who does not
have the Son of God does not have the life (ZOE).”
There is no misunderstanding God here. It’s all about the true and abundant life which is alone found in the Son of God. I have heard it said hundreds of times in my life if I have heard it once, “If you have your health, you have everything.” Well folks, I haven’t had good health for years, but I am overflowing with abundant life because I have Christ-Zoe living in me.Yes indeed, abundant, overflowing life.
The Bible tells us in I John 4:8 and 16 that God is love-agape. John 14:6 and Colossians 3:4 tell us that Jesus is life-zoe. Anything that God is and that Jesus God’s Son is must be supernatural and therefore super-abundant. Abundant love and abundant life. In Jesus we have more than enough love and life and to spare. That is why the Psalmist says in Psalm 23:5,
“My cup runs over.”
Also, when men speak of the “Haves,” they mean those who are rich and have lots of bios. And when they speak of the “Have Nots” they mean those who are poor and have very little bios. That is the world’s and the apostate church’s definition of the “Haves” and the “Have Nots.”
The Bible in I John 5:12 has a completely different definition of the “Haves” and the “Have Nots.” If you have the Son of God in your heart, you are an “Abundant Life Have.” If you do not have the Son of God in your heart, you are an “Abundant Life Have Not.” Without Christ-Zoe Life in us, life is not life, let alone abundant, but merely a bare, empty existence – dead men walking – mobile zeros. In other words, it is not “What” a man has that constitutes abundant life, but “Who” he has that constitutes abundant life.
But now comes the subtle but hugely important distinction in all of this. You see, the world also speaks about what they call “THE GOOD LIFE.” I am sure that you have heard that, or maybe even uttered that yourself a time or two.
For the worldly minded and the earth bound, the phrases “The Abundant Life” and “The Good Life” are synonymous and mean pretty much the same thing. These phrases are measured in strictly monetary and material terms, and therefore only those who are rich and plentiful with the world’s “abundance” and “goods” have “The Abundant Life” and “The Good Life.”
“Ah yes,” says the man drinking his happy-hour cocktail and crackers with caviar as he reclines on his condominium deck lounger overlooking the ocean, “This is the good life; it doesn’t get any better than this.” Says his fishing buddy, “Hear! Hear! I’ll drink to that.”
So very sad to say, many modern religious people have let those phrases come to mean the same thing for them. In fact, they are taught in the apostate church to think of those words in the same way the world does, only with a God additive. So that when the modern religious hear or talk about “The Abundant Life” and “The Good Life,” they mean that God has blessed them too with OCEAN FRONT CONDOMINIUMS, HAPPY HOUR WINE TIMES, and CRACKERS WITH CAVIAR. That is, they also define THE ABUNDANT LIFE and THE GOOD LIFE in the same way the world does, but with a God chaser – HALLELUJAH, I’LL DRINK TO THAT!
Tragic! Sick! Pathetic! It all misses “The Abundant Life” and “The Good Life” by a million, zillion miles. What do we mean?
FIRST of all, Jesus Christ is “Zoe – The Abundant Life,” and He didn’t have a home of His own or a grave of His own to be buried in. Do you think that “The Mighty God” Who had no place to lay His head defined “The Abundant Life” as “The Almighty Dollar?” Do you see how “Worldized” and “Earthized” we have become in our thinking?
As a matter of fact, it has become so distorted and corrupted that:
“THE MODERN CHURCH ATTENDEE CANNOT IMAGINE
THE SPIRITUALLY ALIVE AND MORALLY SOUND
MAN OF MODEST MEANS AS HAVING COME
INTO THE ABUNDANT LIFE.”
If you will:
“IT ISN’T THE BRIGHT, ROSY COLOR OF SPIRITUAL HEALTH
UPON A MAN’S HEART, BUT THE BRIGHTNESS OF
THE COLOR GREEN IN HIS BILLFOLD THAT
DEFINES THE ABUNDANT LIFE FOR
MUCH OF THE MODERN CHURCH.”
In which case, Jesus not only was not “The Abundant Life,” He didn’t even have “The Abundant Life.” Such secularized and materialized and moneyized notions of “The Abundant Life” and “The Good Life” are damnable and making the church terminally ill.
SECOND, because JESUS IS ZOE, “The Abundant Life” for the Biblical Christian means that he is filled to overflowing with the spiritual and moral life/character of God’s Son.
If you will:
“THE FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE HANGING IN
RIPE AND SWEET ABUNDANT CLUSTERS UPON
THE BRANCHES OF THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE,
FOR HE IS IN THE VINE WHO IS
JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.”
We read that very truth in John 15:5 where Jesus defines “The Abundant Life” when He says,
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me,
and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from
Me you can do nothing.”
There it is:
“JESUS’ DEFINITION OF THE ABUNDANT LIFE – MUCH FRUIT –
ABUNDANT FRUIT – PLENTIFUL FRUIT – CLUSTERED
FRUIT – DELICIOUS FRUIT TO BLESS AND
NOURISH THE WORLD IN CHRIST.”
My dear Ruthie and I were in rapid transit the other day, and we only had a small bit of time to stop in at Burger King for some fast food. The dear old lady taking our order must have been well into her seventies. She oozed with life and love and sweetness and kindness and patience for the cold and demanding consumers. The man ahead of us was crude and crass to her. She was like an abundant fruit tree talking to a prickly cactus.
I said to her, because it was easy to discern, “You love Jesus, don’t you.” She said, “I have loved him as long as I can tell.” I said, “I know, it surely shows sister.” For standing before me was ZOE – CHRIST AND HIS ABUNDANT LIFE.
The dear lady obviously was working there at her age not because she wanted to, but because she had to. She was a daughter of God with very meager means, but oh my, did she have “The Abundant Life” of Christ hanging on her branches. Those who abide in Christ and in whom Christ abides always do, for HE AND HE ALONE IS THEIR ABUNDANTLY FRUITFUL LIFE. Amen!