Life Abundant

3 Sep

John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Henry David Thoreau:  “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.”

Wow, those two statements smack up against each other, don’t they?  They show us, first of all, the huge chasm between the Christian life offered so abundantly in our Lord Jesus and the cold life outside of Christ, the source of all warmth and light and love.

But is there more?  Are there Christians who live lives of quiet desperation?  Having been an informal counselor (read:  a listening friend) for over thirty years of adulthood, I must say, yes, there are many of them.

Why?  Why are there so many of us who fall into C.S. Lewis’s example of a child playing happily in a mud puddle when, all along, he doesn’t realize the high rise building next to him obscures the view of the ocean and a wide beach!  Why do we settle for so much less than Jesus came to give us?

Jesus came, primarily, to give us life eternal.  Many other passages tell us that, and that is beyond dispute.  But He speaks here of having life “more abundantly.”  That’s a comparative.  Heaven is a superlative.  I truly believe the context here means life in this world.

I find a clue about how to find life more abundant in Philippians 3:9 which says, “And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God, by faith.”

I believe that many, if not most, of us as Christians have no problem with believing we are saved by grace through faith, but then we try to keep ourselves saved by works.  The entire book of Galatians is written about that.  We have that tendency.

And the antidote?  To be found in Him and in His righteousness.  He imparts righteousness to us at salvation, but He also imparts His very nature, His righteous nature, to us afterwards as we spend time with Him.  He is the antidote to works-based, despondent Christian living.

As we spend time with Him, we grow to be more like Him and our despair falls away, bit by bit.  It is probably more a progressive work than an instantaneous one.  That would make sense because there are no other friendships where we expect to gain the entire benefit of a friendship on the first day we meet someone!  We grow in friendships and benefit mutually from them by spending time together.  And Jesus is the best friend of all.

Let us be found in Him, and in His grace, and in His righteousness.


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