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A Blessed Life

Abundance found in following Jesus

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus promised an abundant life but too often a person’s definition does not match what Jesus intended. Many think of abundance in cultural terms. By American standards it may be defined as a nice house, a great car, a beautiful family, and a stress-free, well-paying job. Is this what Jesus means?

sunset in Greece

Sell all that you have

The gospel writer Mark records an incident where a rich man asked Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus responded to obey the commandments. The man felt he was fulfilling this obligation. Jesus then said, “Sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21).

This counters the thinking of abundance. Is not life measured by possessions?

Take up your cross

The gospels also record an event where Jesus was speaking to a crowd and explaining the way of salvation. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Matt. 8:34-35).

Take up a cross and follow Jesus? Pick up a torturous instrument in order to experience abundance? This does not make sense. Or does it?

Redefining abundance

Could abundance be better defined as a life with an eternal hope and with an everyday confidence? Jesus gave His followers instructions to experience abundance just before ascending to heaven.

The Greatest Commandment

Jesus commissioned His followers to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit … and low, I am with you always.” (Matt. 28:19-20).

The abundant life is connected to pursuing His desires. The meaning of life and a hope for the future is found as you purpose yourself to reach the nations for Him.

The rich man held back from a genuine relationship with God on account of material possessions. Jesus is more important. The abundance He talks about cannot be found unless fully devoted to Him.

Jesus said to deny yourself and carry a cross. Life will not be without struggle. Everyday challenges give the greatest opportunity to develop Christ-like character. When carrying a cross you identify with Jesus and become more like Him.

An abundant life

My family is experiencing “life to the full” by letting go of cultural definitions of abundance. We decided to reprioritize our lives and have faced some hardships along the way. We are richer, however, for it.

Our children are gaining a clearer worldview and learning two different languages. My wife and I have a rich sense of meaning through our work and a great hope for the future, as we experience His unfolding plan.

The challenge

The challenge is to let go of possessions, any plans that exclude God and unrealistic expectations that keep you from experiencing the abundant life promised by Jesus.

Should hardships come Jesus will use them to shape you and to develop His nature in you.

What holds you back from experiencing His abundance?

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