The True Definition of Abundant Life

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Because we often 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?

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.

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 isn't even sure exists. Certainly we all go through difficult times. But the absence 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 someone 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 often 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?

Reflection: How has Christ revealed Himself to you and given you internal abundance? What proceeded this abundance? What came after it? Did you experience challenges before knowing Him as your Source of abundance or did some other revelation make you realize He is all you need?

*Excerpted in part from Betrayed by God? Making Sense of Your Expectations by Shana Schutte. Copyright, Beacon Hill Press, 2010.

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