“If I just survive today….” (says the lady dreading a difficult confrontation).
“Sometimes it feels like my only job is to keep people from dying…” (says a stay-at-home toddler dad).
“I just don’t want to die…” (says the newly-diagnosed cancer patient)
“I’ll go when I’m past survival-mode…” (says the man struggling with chronic illness or disease).
“If I just make it to tomorrow, the worst will be over…” (says the first-time mom about to give birth).
Most of us… we want to more than to just survive. We want to thrive, no?
MORE THAN SURVIVING
Survival is the most basic human function. Or at least it feels like it should be. Like we shouldn’t have to live focused on that. Like it should just happen naturally in the background, and our minds and bodies should be able to be focused elsewhere—to more important, higher things—instead. Survival so often feels mindless, unimportant, purposeless.
The thing is, this instinct for a more abundant life is a wonderful, God-given instinct. I believe we have this longing because we are all, every one of us, meant to live an abundant life.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10, NKJV)
Before we can though, there are a few things about abundant life we must grasp if we want to take hold of it. Let’s take a look at them.
1. LIFE IS FOR ANY SITUATION
First, it can be lived in any situation under the sun. Not just in dire situations, but in good. Not only in easy situations, but hard too. No matter situation we find ourselves in—good, bad, or ugly—abundant life can be our reality. Life beyond survival-mode can and should be our experience.
2. LIFE DOESN’T WAIT FOR CHANGE
Second, abundant life doesn’t wait for our circumstances to change. Abundant life is best and most likely found before circumstances change! Why? Because we usually don’t look for it until we sense a need for it (though we are never without need for it).
…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (Phil. 4:11-12)
3. LIFE IS LIVED BY FAITH
Third, abundant life is lived only by faith. Romans 8:24 asks “who hopes for what they already see?” Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We practice faith before we see its fruit. We trust Jesus before we receive His help. It is out of faith that provision is granted. If it can be lived in any situation and it doesn’t depend on changed circumstances, it is not lived by what we see, but by what we don’t see.
But before moving on, we must be clear on what we’re believing. Abundant life isn’t found in believing a situation is going to go the way we think it should go. Abundant life is found in believing that Jesus, who dwells within you through the Holy Spirit, will provide for your internal need (faith instead of fear, love instead of hate, joy instead of gloom, light instead of darkness, contentment instead of jealousy, expectation instead of dread, etc.) in any situation. This is abundant life. Not circumstances going a certain way, but unity of life with the amazing Savior.
Which brings us to our final point.
4. JESUS IS ABUNDANT LIFE
Fourth, Jesus is the abundant Life. Improved circumstances aren’t it. Improved health isn’t it. Improved finances aren’t. Not even improved relationships are it. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life… “ He is it, friends.
In reality, we live life via the inward person. Of course our inward person manifests in the physical world we live in. However, every thing we face and go through is handled from the inside out. What we say starts on the inside. What we do, starts with a thought. Earthly life is lived from the inside out. I think we all understand this.
What is harder to grasp is how the voices we hear influence our thinking. Further, we struggle to discern between truth and lie in what we hear. This is especially true in the inward man. We don’t only hear externally with our physical ears (how we hear people), we also hear internally, with our hearts. Through the cursed flesh and blood vessels we dwell in, the devil has access to our inward persons. He assaults us with lies continually, bringing us into subjugation to him and his agenda. We’re so accustomed to his lies, we struggle to discern them as lies… and we struggle to discern them as his thoughts, and not our own.
Enter Jesus. This is the very problem Jesus came to fix. That is, to free us from. His cross-death had to do with canceling out the work of the devil in our flesh and blood bodies. See Romans 6:3, 6-7:
Or do you not know that all of us who have been [Spirit] baptized into Christ Jesus have been [Spirit] baptized into His death?… that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.
If Jesus has annulled your flesh (by His death), through which the devil speaks to your heart, and if Jesus now has access to your inward man via the presence of His Holy Spirit in you (received into every believer upon their faith in Jesus), then you have access to the inward man of Jesus. That is, you have access to His true, lovely, good, pure, high, excellent thoughts. And His thoughts are abundant Life, friend. His thoughts, coupled with the energizing Spirit of God within you, enable you to live above your flesh… that is, freed from the enslaving influence of the devil…. who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy you.
THRIVING FROM THE INSIDE OUT
If life is lived from the inside out, and you are able to access and hear Jesus’ own true thoughts inside of you, then you have everything you need for every situation. This is why we don’t wait for situations to change before we act. We don’t live from the outside in. We believe Jesus will give us all truth inwardly for the outward life, that His Spirit will empower that truth once we receive it, and we’ll live above and beyond our external circumstances, physical limitations, the flesh of others, and the flesh of ourselves.
And in this, you will truly live abundant Life.
And in this, others see Jesus in you.
And in this, you have joy unspeakable.
And in this, you grow in faith/trust in Jesus.
And in this, you grow in love for Jesus.
And in this, you have peace that surpasses all understanding.
And in this, you learn the secret for satisfaction (contentment) in every circumstance.
And in this, you learn the secret to not just surviving situations and life, but thriving in anything.
…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am… I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:11-13)
No listening for and trusting Jesus’ true thoughts, no abundant Life. But consciously reckoning on His cross-death as your own cross-death (Rom. 6:11), then listening for HIs Life inside of you (John 16:13) and acting from it (James 1:22), instead of from the flesh… and Life you really will live!
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Gal. 2:2)