Back in the day, being a faithful Christian meant being in church every Sunday. This is how folks measured whether someone had a true-blue relationship with God. In their minds, you didn’t necessarily have to learn anything new or add to your catalog of faith. You didn’t have to be a different person when you walked out of the building than you were before you came in; you just had to make sure you occupied a space on the pew each week. If you showed up, most folks considered you a faithful Christian. Cut to present day, and Luke 13:24 has stirred a new sense of urgency in the hearts of those that are convinced that not only are we living beneath our privilege, but we’re living in the last days. In this verse, Jesus Christ said, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.”
We forget sometimes that Jesus was a very radical person living in his time. He completely flipped the script on business as usual. He came to give us an up-close and personal demonstration of how to live according to God’s Will and Plan. In John 10:10 (NKJV), Jesus said, “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.” Much like today, in the time during which Jesus walked the earth, people were isolated; divided by race, class, and gender; and living in their own silos. When it came to unity, peace, power, and love, they had these small little boxes that they tried to put God in. Mathematics at its most basic level teaches us that you can’t possibly squeeze the faith required for a big life out of a mindset that seeks to make God’s love so small.
The definition of abundance is a very large quantity of something. The first instinct of those who read John 10:10 is to think of abundance in terms of finance and money. Their definition of wealth is exclusive to loot in the bank. God’s definition of abundance is prosperity in every area of our lives. 2Corinthians 9:8 (NLT) tells us, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” His Will for us is to have good quality relationships, good health, a kind and committed spouse, family unity, and have our needs met with extra to spare. He desires that we operate out of the overflow of His abundance, so that we have plenty to share with others.
If God had not let us in on His desire for us to be abundantly blessed, we would not know what is available and achievable in life, and we would not do our very best to meet the standard He’s laid out for us in His Word. But the truth is that not only can we renew our minds to His promises, we can live the life of love that draws good things to us like a magnet. That’s good news indeed!
A myth that many people have believed for a long time is that you can have one without the other, that you can have the goodies without the good works to back them up. James 2:26 (NLT) tells us, “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” The yummiest desserts are made by skillful hands that labor in the kitchen. It should never be lost on those of us who like to partake of the goodies that the goal is that we get in the kitchen and learn to make them ourselves.
The Word of God is the bread of life. Our privilege and responsibility is to feast upon it as often as we can. It’s how we put on the love of Christ and begin to walk as he walked, talk as he talked, live as he lives, and love as loves. Sometimes this journey is uncomfortable; learning to be the embodiment of love often is, but it is what we are here to do. Jesus Christ warned in John 9:4(NLT), “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” We don’t know the day or the hour when Jesus Christ will come again, but we know he’s coming. He’s not coming back for a building, He’s coming back for us, and if we’re not ready, there’s not a better time than now to prepare.
God tells us in 2Corinthians 2:15-16(NLT), “15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” We’re still in the game! We’re alive, and if you’re above ground you’re abundantly blessed. Through Jesus Christ, God has given us a Christ-like fragrance that rises up before Him. What could be better than that?!!! We’re a life-giving perfume to those that are waiting for us to influence their lives. So, the question is whether we’ll step outside our comfort zones and share with others what God has so freely given to us. If we commit ourselves to work hard and live the life of love that He has called us to, we will enter that narrow door to God’s Kingdom.■
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
“Abundantly Blessed” written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!