Stay with me for a moment, I promise this post isn’t about the prosperity gospel. But it is about the gospel. It is about something I have often lost sight of.
Lately I have been camped on John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fill.”
You see this is the message of the gospel. Jesus came because there is a thief who has been and is stealing, killing, destroying lives/humanity. Jesus came to give us life but not just enough to make us live but instead He came to give us life until there was no more room, He came to give us abundant life. This abundant life, given to us, is the gospel.
I did a little research on this passage and there are a few things that caught my attention:
- The Greek word for life, Zoe, means the principle of life in spirit and in soul. It expresses all the highest and best which Christ is and which He gives to the saints.
- The Greek word for “to the fill,” Perissos, means exceedingly, abundantly, greater, vehemently, greater, exceedingly, preeminence. This preeminence means all around and vehemently means to do it forcefully with emotion. Jesus came in order that we might continuously have life, even that we may continuously have it all around. This giving of life in abundance has been done forcefully, with emotion. And finally, this life is preeminence; it surpasses all other types of life.
Recently it has come to my attention that this is not how I live my life. Three specific arenas that I’ve been challenged in lately have been my health/healing, finances and relationships. There has been a repetitive thought pattern that summed up sounded much like this, “God will give me just enough. I don’t want to be too greedy to think that I should ask for, expect or believe for more than just enough. God is mighty and wonderful but how could I expect to get more/greater than this.”
The overarching theme is that in those three areas I was settling.
Settling in to dealing with health issues because it’s always been that way.
Settling in to living my life on crumbs never expecting or asking for the impossible.
Settling for the best kind of guy I could find, even when there were things that didn’t match up.
In every area I had been settling. Until about a month ago that is.
One week in staff meeting we were laying hands on each other and praying. I mentioned that I had been dealing with some sinus issues. This had been pretty standard since moving to New England and I coped the best way I could. But since moving to MA it had gotten more intense. It felt like every other week I was suffering and struggling to just think straight for a few hours. Well during that meeting, we prayed that the Lord would heal my sinus and I received it.
When I say that I received it, I mean two things. 1) I mean that right there I grasped onto that proclamation of healing and believe God was going to do it and then 2) it came to pass. I haven’t had sinus issues since AND more than that my allergies have been getting less and less.
Something happened within me that day. I realized that in my whole life I had never asked the Lord to deal with my sinus issues. I had asked for Him to show up in the middle of a sinus infection. I have asked Him to use the pain for some purpose. But it had never crossed my mind to ask for, to contend for healing.
It was then that this scripture came in my devotions. Hmmm I thought, Jesus came that I may have life and life abundantly? I didn’t have to relegate myself to settling. I could contend for ALL that He has for me? I could contend for abundance?
Well just as He dealt with my thoughts on healing so did He deal with both my thoughts on finances and relationships.
Finances. I had always thought that since I had decided to follow Him into ministry I would always just get by. I knew that the Lord would provide but there was something within me that spoke that Him providing would be just enough for each day. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that sometimes this is the way that God provides. The problem with my thinking is that this was my expectation of God, a God that would ONLY give just enough. God doesn’t want me to think that He could only give me a crumb; He is the Creator, He owns cattle on a thousand hills. Maybe I don’t need millions but that doesn’t mean that I will have to live as though I have nothing. Just last week the Lord challenged me to believe for and contend for a specific amount of money. It was more than I need to get by each month and more than I am currently making but, knowing that He wants to give me life and abundant life at that, I began to contend.
Long story short. I received a promotion and raise two days ago; barely a week past Him asking me to contend and BELIEVE for more. I have no idea what that will mean but I do know this, my God wants me to contend for abundance and trust Him with the details.
And finally, relationships. Sometimes being single sucks. Now this doesn’t mean that I hate my life and I’m mopping. It means that people don’t know what to do or say to a single person. Often times you are asked why are you still alone or if you still want to get married. Often you are made to feel out of place and alone just because, well, you are alone. There are even those who make it seem like you should make it your goal to go “find” someone.
Let me just put this out there, I don’t want to have to go HUNT to FIND someone. Sure I have to do my part, I can’t just wait for some guy to fall out of the sky in front of me (although that would be rather helpful) but I’m also not going to MAKE things happen.
Anyways, the craziness of being single can lead to some pretty crazy thoughts. One of my own thoughts was whether I had too high of expectations. I questioned if there would ever be anyone out there who fit my desires. Was there anyone who could meet what I was looking for? Or was I putting God into a box? Somewhere along the line these thoughts became my reality. There seemed to be no way that anyone could fit my expectations. I will always have to settle, because there can’t be anyone out there that fits what I desire.
My desires aren’t for a specific build or height or eye color. I am not desiring a specific degree or alma mater. I am desiring a similar calling, life view, way of living. I am desiring a compliment for who I am and what I am called to. And somewhere along the way I began to think that this could never happen.
But I don’t anymore. I am going to contend for abundance. I am going to contend for the fullness of all God has for me. I don’t know what that means but I won’t settle for any less. I won’t lose myself or deal with life or just scrape by for the rest of my life.
I am going to contend for life in abundance IN ALL THINGS.
Will you contend for abundant living?