We all love to hear how much God loves us, don’t we? A lot has changed in the way we live our daily lives since the first disciples of Jesus walked the earth. It is written that they didn’t exactly live the “abundant” lives that the preachers preach today. In fact, life was not very pleasant for them at all, according to 1 Corinthians 4:9-14. Jesus talked about those who would be His disciples should take up their cross and follow Him. And obviously, those people did.

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

Paul WARNS us?? Indeed, Jesus said in John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; but I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Now, if it’s God’s will that we live “life more abundantly”, where did the original disciples “miss it”? Seems to me if anyone was on top of things that Jesus taught, it was them, because they actually lived with Him for the whole time of His ministry. Of course, Paul was a late comer, being called by Jesus on the road to Damascus, but apparently HE was also “missing it”, because his life was not “life more abundantly”, as we can read in all of his accounts.

OR WAS IT?? Could it be that the “life more abundantly” that Jesus spoke of was not what WE consider “life more abundantly” today? To us, exceeding prosperity is the first benchmark of “life more abundantly”. Many false teachers have taught that if we aren’t rich, then we’re out of the will of God. Defining “rich”, most see that as “money”. Many prominent preachers are rich; multiple homes, multiple expensive cars, jets, and some brag about how much money they have. Sorry, but I must have “missed it” somewhere, because I didn’t see Jesus teaching that, nor did His disciples.

Now, don’t get me wrong: if Jesus said we can have something, then I’m going to press in and have it. If we can have salvation, then I want it. If we can have healing, then I want it. If we can have the peace of God reigning in our life, then I want it. If we can be filled with the Holy Spirit, then I want it.

Jesus said a whole mouthful in John 14:1-15,
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Now THAT to me is “life more abundantly”. What was Paul “warning us” of? It is being deceived of our own lusts. Jesus told us to not let our hearts be troubled. How many suffer from THAT? We pray, and when we don’t see immediate results, we fret and worry, and often take the things back that we supposedly “gave” God in prayer, and try to work them out ourselves. And that usually doesn’t end up well, does it? What is inner peace worth to you? To me, it’s worth far more than money, or having a fine home, or possessions. What’s it worth to you to trust God COMPLETELY, having the promise from Jesus that whatsoever you ask of your heavenly Father in His name, He will do it? You DO believe that, right?

“Well…..kinda….but I pray in Jesus’ name and I don’t get anything I ask for…..” Then either Jesus lied, or you asked amiss. Knowing Jesus cannot lie, then my money is on that you asked to satisfy your flesh, not to further the Gospel. That isn’t to say that God won’t often give us things to make us happy, because He does. But honestly search your heart right now, what you find might astound you, and cause you to reconsider what you ask for in the future.

The fleshly tendency is to measure “life more abundantly” against how “comfortable” we are in this life. Now I haven’t struggled against evil to the point of shedding blood….yet, but that doesn’t mean it may not happen at some point. Life more abundantly, like the DISCIPLES had, gave them grace to endure WHATSOEVER they had to, in order to advance the Gospel. What are WE having to endure to advance the Gospel? More importantly, ARE we even advancing the Gospel where we are in this time of little to no interference? If not, it’s a pretty safe bet that we won’t when things get hard like they did for the early disciples.

Paul’s warning was what, then? To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to not to let fleshly desires cause our love to grow cold. Measured in fleshly terms, even the poorest among us here are indeed living life “more abundantly” than 95% of the rest of the world. But how about in spiritual terms? Are we living in prosperous bodies with starving spirits? Have we become so spiritually destitute that we don’t even see that it is US that have missed it, while we’re chasing our dream of “life more abundantly”?

Maybe our understanding of “life more abundantly” has been skewed by society and false teachings from those who are flesh rich and spirit poor. There’s no better time than right now to get into God’s Word and get it straight from the Source. Indeed, “life more abundantly” IS God’s will for each of us, otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have said so. But let’s heed Paul’s warning so we don’t end up losing what is REALLY important. God is more concerned with our “eternity”, than this fleeting time we call “life”, We can use it to be a witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in whatever capacity God prepares for each of us, or we can waste it pleasing our flesh. Choose wisely.