22
Feb
11

abundant life

Jesus makes a very extravagant promise to us in John 15:10: “My purpose is to give them (us) a rich and satisfying life.” (NLT) The more traditional versions use the phrase “abundant life”. The word “abundant” is an adjective that is defined as “existing or available in large quantities or plentiful”. It comes from a Latin word which means “abounding”. The Greek word we find in the text literally means “excessive, extraordinary in amount, profuse or going beyond what is necessary”.

Although the idea of a benevolent God who was sympathetic to their needs and wanted to lavish unmerited blessing upon them was a foreign concept to the Gentile believers of the First Century Church, the concept was very familiar to Jewish listeners of the day. The Hebrew term used to express this idea was “shalom”. The word literally means “peace” and was used as a pronouncement of blessing as well as a greeting. The word is interpreted in such a way as to convey a sense of “intactness, well-being, completeness, soundness, peace and security”. This concept was based upon the promises of God in passages like Deuteronomy 28. However, as this passage reveals, there is a condition. We must walk in the precepts of the Word of God. Why? Simply to jump through some arbitrary set of hoops to appease a fickle deity? Absolutely not! We are called to be the image-bearers (Romans 8:29, 30) of a loving, kind and benevolent God to a world that needs to know him. And, as Deuteronomy 28 indicates, God clearly lays this choice out before us. As Henry Cloud points out, “God has promised you abundant life, but he has not promised you an abundant life with no effort.” We must develop a strategy based upon the Word of God that will bring about his blessing and favor and then pursue that strategy with all our abilities which will produce abundant living.

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