Holland: Thoughts on abundant living

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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By Billy Holland



One of the more popular verses about blessings in the New Testament is John 10:10. We notice Christ is speaking, “The thief does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But, I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” This statement is a wonderful promise of confidence as it generally describes how the devil is evil and is trying to destroy us and that God is always good and desires for us to be victorious representatives of His glorious kingdom. You would think that everyone on the planet would want to be on God’s “winning side” who by the way, has infinite spiritual power and authority, however, this does not seem to be the case. Many who claim to be Christians are not walking in what the Bible calls spiritual abundance. Why not? Since God is a Spirit, His word is Spirit, so spiritual abundance comes from being filled and abiding in His Spirit. When this is not happening we struggle and appear not much different than non-Christians? 

So, how do we understand the word abundant? Christ uses the Greek word “perissos,” pronounced per-is-sos. In this context, it means ‘superior in quantity or quality’ ‘exceedingly’ ‘very high’ ‘advantage’ and ‘beyond measure.’ This is the same word that Paul uses again in Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” Our first clue to understanding this word is to realize Paul is speaking about the nature of God and that Christians can be filled with as much of God as they choose. You see, free will is at the center of our human existence and created with decision-making abilities where we make decisions each minute. It’s a privilege to be given this authority, but with great responsibility, there is also serious accountability.

Galatians chapter 5 reveals the intentional sinful works of the flesh and adds that no one who does such things will go to heaven. Then in verses 22-25, we read about the attitudes that should be evident in those who are truly walking in the abundant life of God. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” 

The Bible does not say that we are limited as to how close to God we can be. Jesus walked with His Father as one and since He is our example, we are expected to do the same. It’s difficult but possible according to how much we love Him. 

What does this have to do with abundance? Everything. Unfortunately, many times, followers seek more gifts without being focused on the giver. People hear the phrase “abundant living,” and the church is filled with hallelujahs, but are they thinking about more money or drawing nearer to God? The Almighty is often viewed as a divine being obligated to answer our requests like a letter to Santa. Yes, God listens and responds to our needs according to His perfect will, but whether we receive our desires or not, we still love Him just for who He is. Right? Surely, when we ask for material things and do not receive them, we do not become discouraged because we were denied God’s promise of abundance. Being born again comes from the abundance of God’s grace, and the level of our spiritual intimacy with Him is measured by our obedience to Him. 

Being saved through the sacrifice of Jesus is vital, but it’s not the end – it’s just the beginning. We are not to accept the invitation to follow Him and then sit on the couch waiting for Him to give us everything on our wish list. Let us realize that everything we dream about will not turn out like we imagined. Many times, God is saving us from more misery and disappointment. We hear people talk about all the glorious things heaven will contain, like the golden streets and mansions, without mentioning Christ. Reuniting with our families is comforting, but being with God is the ultimate eternally abundant life. Instead of focusing desire on abundant prosperity, may we realize that God is waiting for us to “abundantly” give more of our heart to Him. 

Dr. Holland is a Christian minister, chaplain, and author. Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com.