“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10 NKJV
Are you experiencing abundant life?
How would you define abundant life?
I guess, it all has to do with perspective. There are times when I have seen more joy in people who have little than those who have a lot of wealth and earthly possessions. Having “stuff” doesn’t necessarily equate with having “life.” To me, abundance sounds like noisy children and tyres on gravel when my husband comes in from work. It looks like laundry baskets and dishes piled higher than usual, because our friends dropped round for a meal.
I have so many blessings in my life. So many things to be thankful for. Yet, there are areas in my life where I struggle. Some things are hard, and I don’t really feel like I am accessing the grace that is available to me for those specific issues that I’m dealing with. Those are the reasons why I read John 10:10 and I wonder, where is my “abundantly” for this situation?
“Abundantly” is what Jesus came to give us. “Abundantly” is the reason that he chose to lay down his life for us. And because of that incredible gift, I do not want to ever take it for granted. I believe it is not just my gift, but my responsibility to access the abundant life that Jesus came to give me. Whatever that may look like. Whatever the situation, or issue, or circumstance, there is an “abundantly” that has been made available to us.
But how do we access this abundant life?
This promise of abundant life is found right in the middle of the passage where Jesus speaks to a crowd about sheep! (John 10). This lesson took place after he healed a man that was blind from birth. He challenged the Pharisees, saying that they pretend to see, but in actual fact, they are spiritually blind (John 9). I find it interesting that after Jesus addresses their sight, he challenges their hearing.
The key to accessing a life more abundantly is to become a sheep. One who can not only hear the voice of the Shepherd, but discern between his voice and the voice of the thief. Because there is a thief, an antagonist to our story, and he does not want us to step into our “Abundantly.” He comes only to kill, steal and destroy.
Often, I have looked at adverse circumstances as God’s unwillingness to intervene or provide what I needed. Recognising the antagonist in my story changed everything. Yet, I wasn’t sure how to get God to do what I needed Him to do! I was still stuck in my “less-than-abundantly.” As I studied John 10, I found the key that opened the door to abundant life: I learned that abundant life is connected to my ears!
“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
John 10:27 NLT
There is a progression here, that will unlock abundant life if we apply it to our lives.
Being able to hear the Shepherd’s voice is the most important privilege you have as a child of God. I used to believe that hearing God’s voice was only for a select few. For those who was holy enough, or did the minimum required hours of fasting and prayer. But hearing God’s voice is just as natural as hearing your friend over the phone!
(If this is something you want to explore, you might get some pointers from a previous blog, The Game Changer.)
The reason why it is so important to hear God’s voice, is because that is how you get to know someone. The more I spend time with my family and friends, listening to them, having conversations, spending time together; the more I know them. The ones I know the best, are the ones I’ve spent most time with. How incredible that we can know the Creator of the Universe! The One who breathed life into ever living organism on this planet. The One dreamed about you even before you were born, and meticulously planned a path for your life. One that drips with abundance! (Psalm 65:11). But God doesn’t force us on this path, we have to choose it. And if we want to discover it, we have to know him, and allow him to show us. And he will.
When we know him, we will trust him. We only follow those we trust. Trusting someone means you believe that they are both able and willing to lead you to your best life. To your “abundantly.” I remember all those years, growing up in church, and doing all the Christian things, but having no real relationship with God. Following my own ideas and paths. Then, when things did not add up to the “abundantly” I read about in the Bible, I was confused. Did God not care about me? Did he not see my suffering?
The truth is, I was never really following. Even though I thought I was.
Today, I am thankful for the ability to hear his voice. I am able to discern between the voice of the Shepherd and the voice of the Thief. I know the Shepherd. I know his heart. I know he is not just able to lead me to the “abundantly” in every area of my life, but he is willing. Because he loves me.
And he loves you too! If there is any area of your life where you need to find your “abundantly,” just follow these three simple steps: Hear, Know, Follow. The Shepherd will lead you there. This is why he came. So you may have life, and have it more abundantly.
Today, I hear the Shepherd say: “Little One, you do not have to fear any situation that looks like it might overpower you. I am here to lead you out of adversity and into victory. I am here to lead you out of lack, and into more than enough. I am here to lead you out of confusion and into clarity. I am here to lead you out of darkness and into light. Into wisdom. Into revelation. Into freedom. There is so much I want to show you as we walk together on the path that I have marked out for you. Will you trust me? I have come, so that you may have abundant life. That is my will for you. Let me lead you there. Because, I am a good Shepherd. And I love you.” ❤