Select Page

Abundant Life? What Does THAT Mean?

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Abundant Life, God's Will

We’ve all read the text, we’ve heard it preached in sermons, we’ve read devotionals about it… It seems rather clear, doesn’t it? Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b NKJV). And when Jesus says it, He means it!

I don’t know about you, however, but the life I have since becoming a Christian doesn’t seem all that “abundant”. Problems still happen. I’m still subject to illnesses and accidents and relationship problems, and it seems that the harder I try to even be better from a spiritual standpoint, I fail even worse than I did before.

Of course, we know that the devil doesn’t like it very much when we give our hearts to God and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and we know that He prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking who he can devour (See 1 Peter 5:8). So on the one hand, we are promised — by the One who keeps ALL His promises — that we will have abundant life; but on the other hand, we are open prey for the devil who is seeking to devour us. How can these two truths be reconciled?

I believe that the answer lies in our definition of “Abundant Life”. You see, God isn’t a big “Santa”. He answers our prayers, yes, but He answers them according to His will, according to what He, in His ultimate knowledge and wisdom, knows is best for us. And sometimes He tells us we have to “wait”. We tend to claim John 10:10 as something that is our “right”. So often I’ve heard people say, “But God MUST do _____!” I’m sorry my friends, but God doesn’t have to do anything! He is sovereign, He loves us, He is here to take care of us, but He knows best what we need, and unfortunately for us, we do NOT know what is best for us!

There is another text in the Bible that talks about those who are in Christ becoming rich, and I believe it sheds some light on the whole “abundant life” dilemma. I love the way it is stated in the New Century Version of the Bible: “Serving God does make us very rich…” (1 Timothy 6:6a NCV)

Well that sounds a lot like John 10:10, doesn’t it? Jesus came to give us abundant life, and serving God makes us very rich!

But wait, this isn’t helping! I am not rich, and most of those I know who serve God with a servant’s heart are not rich at all! Some can’t even make it from paycheck to paycheck, while others don’t even have a paycheck!

But 1 Timothy 6:6 doesn’t end here. It goes on to say, “…if we are satisfied with what we have.” (1 Timothy 6:6b NCV)! Did you catch that? Serving God does make us rich, but only if we learn to be satisfied with what we have!

In another place, Paul says he has learned to be content with what he has: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” (Phil. 4:11 NKJV). I believe that it comes as no surprise to anyone that it is often the rich in this world who are never satisfied with what they have. No, riches don’t bring happiness. Rather, when we learn to be content with what we have, we will see that serving God becomes an incredibly rich experience, so rich that we would never think of trading it for worldly gain.

And there is something even more incredible when we realize that our contentment is the key element to riches… When we learn to submit our every desire to God, when we learn to accept His will, to surrender completely to His sovereignty, when we stop trying to order Him around and accept with contentment what He does give us, something beautiful happens: God supplies our true needs!

In the fall of 2022, I was very, very sick. After three weeks of what I was calling a severe resurgence of IBS, something that I hadn’t suffered from in years, I finally called the doctor. While I was awaiting test results, I had several dear friends tell me that God must heal me. I tried to be gentle in my rebuke, but you see, I don’t even want God to do what I want, not if it isn’t right for me! And so I surrendered the whole thing to Him. As it turned out, I had picked up an intestinal parasite. Unfortunately for me, the “cure” was worse than the problem, as I couldn’t keep the medication down. And then to top it all off, my son, who came down to help me out while I was sick, brought COVID with him and before long, we all had a pretty significant case of COVID.

Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Why would God allow this to happen? This doesn’t look much like “abundant life”, does it! But you see, in this, I have long ago learned to be content with whatever I have. I didn’t get upset with God, I didn’t even ask Him to heal me. I just submitted myself to Him. And He did heal me. But not before doing something else very important… You see, I’ve been struggling with how to keep up with everything and still care for my husband’s needs. I’ve been staying up late trying to get everything done, and it never occurred to me that I should seek help. When I found myself so sick, God began to work the truth into my heart that I needed help. And then He began supplying it from a variety of different ways. Some of those ways meant extra expense, and my retirement income didn’t show any signs of increasing. God then opened the door and provided the exact amount extra each month to cover the extra expenses! Without me having to do anything!

God didn’t heal me of my illness. Not like it was expected of Him. Instead, He healed me of my stress, which was behind the severity of my illness, and if not taken care of, would have resulted in far greater health problems in the future.

What happened here? I serve God, and I have learned to be content with what He gives me. I have learned to surrender my problems to Him. And as a result, He has made me rich. He has given me the abundant life I needed to be able to survive and take care of my husband!

Jesus does promise us abundant life, but that abundance only comes by being content with what we have as we diligently serve the Lord! What are you going through right now? Are you frustrated that God isn’t answering your prayers? Why not surrender it all to Him. Stop telling Him what He needs to do, and start being content with what you have, ever believing that God, who knows everything and who loves you enough to die for you, knows exactly what you truly need and will give it to you.

In His love,

Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author and Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministsries