During a certain, long ago period in my life, I felt a cloud of despondency envelop me from day to day. Loss of loved ones, chronic illness, and a general feeling of failure kept me from enjoying life and feeling that my life had purpose. I asked Jesus, “Where’s the abundant life you promised me in John 10:10?”
Jesus had said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” What did Jesus mean? If he’s talking to people, they must be alive, right? Apparently, he talked about a richer form of life, one with meaning, peace, purpose and joy even in the midst of problems.
I thought at the time that abundant life meant having a happy marriage and the joy of children (without the problems) and feeling well all the time so I could do my job of mothering and housekeeping and other activities perfectly. I didn’t have that type of abundant life, so I became angry at God. Because of this lack of trust in God, I got myself into a mess, until God rescued me by his mercy.
Have you ever wondered how to get that abundant life? Jesus also said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him,” (Matthew 12:24-26, RSV).
Who are “followers of Christ?” Those of us who believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ want to follow him, to be in relationship with him, because we understand he is the one our loving Creator sent to rescue us from Satan. When Jesus died on the cross and then rose again, he broke the padlock on our prison.
Now we have the choice. We can stay in that stinky prison and just exist, or we can follow him out of the prison and experience the peace and joy of forgiveness and have a purpose that makes life worth living even when circumstances are difficult. When we follow him, we may stumble at times. We may not always act the way he teaches us to act. But if we believe he is who he says he is (as recorded in the Bible), then he will help us in our weaknesses, forgive all our sins, and teach us how to live the way God intended us to live when he created us. He forgives us and cleanses us when we admit our sin to him and ask his forgiveness.
God is good, holy, pure, merciful, everywhere present, all-knowing, all-powerful, three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in one God. He created us and all that exists including the vast universe and everything Science has discovered and much that has not yet been discovered or properly understood.
God has given us a way out of our mess. The way is Jesus Christ. When we accept him as Savior and Lord, we come into relationship with the Triune God. That relationship, which leads us to loving and trustful obedience to God, is the abundant life which brings joy, peace, forgiveness and purpose to our lives.
—Judith Vander Wege
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