“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Most of us are pretty well acquainted with this verse. We are taught that the enemy only wants bad for our lives and God only desires good for our lives. Not only does God desire good for us, but also He desires to give us an abundance and overflowing of blessings. Yet, we find ourselves in debt or with severe anxiety or depression or lacking motivation to live a full life.
When Jesus said he came that we may have life and have it abundantly that meant more joy, peace, financial blessings, blessings in our relationships, blessings in our educational and career goals, blessings in our health, emotionally and physically, and on and on. Now that sounds like getting more out of life. If you’re anything like me you’re probably wondering how do I get in on this?
I have learned in my short yet still long 22 years of life that the more I dedicate my life to and give it back to God, the more He blesses me and the more I am living life out of abundance. Here are a few steps you can take to start getting more out of your life.
Spend time getting to know God
This may seem rudimentary and perhaps unrelated, but the more we spend time with God and the more we learn about Him, the more we see that He truly desires to give good things to His children (that’s us)! It says in Luke 12:29-32, “Don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”
God is not some brooding deity in the Heaven’s looking down at us and laughing at our misfortunes. He is compassionate and loving and tender and full of mercy and grace. He so desires to have a relationship with us. He wants to know our deepest longings, and He longs to fulfill them. One thing that stuck out to me in that verse is that it says that it “gives the Father GREAT HAPPINESS to give you the Kingdom.” He doesn't do it out of obligation or because we deserve it. He blesses us because we are His children and He is a good Father.
Be content with what you have
Hebrews 13:5-6 in the Amplified version says, “Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.” We have all heard that money itself is not the root of evil, but it is the love of money that causes ruin. No matter how much money and material possessions we gain in this life, none of it will come with us when we die. So don't put all your hope and happiness in things that are only temporary.
When we are always looking at things others have that we don’t have or always wanting the latest and best version of something it causes huge discontentment. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we do have, like perhaps a car that runs, or roof over your head, food, loving parents, a job, the ability to see, hear or breathe, a phone that works, a computer, clothes, running water, etc… I encourage you to sit down and write out a list of what you have and are thankful for and I bet that you will have a pretty long list. Focus on what you have and be content with what God has given you.
Remember and trust that God has promised to provide our every need.
Live less for yourself and more for others
This also helps with step number two I just talked about. When we focus on others and their needs we stop thinking about ourselves as much because out attention shifts from inward thinking (me, me, me) to outward. When we use our own gifting and talents for others we feel a sense of purpose because what we are doing is making a difference in others’ lives. Did you know that every day the decisions you make no matter how small they may seem are impacting those around you? Jon Foreman, the lead singer from Switchfoot said,
"Every day you’re alive you change the world. Even a lack of involvement is a decision with lasting ramifications. No matter who you are, your actions and thoughts every moment of every day have powerful implications for not only your life but the lives of those around you.”
So live your life for others. Find ways you can help those around you. Find ways to encourage others. Find ways to bless someone’s life. When you do, you are doing those things unto Jesus and He says that He will bless those who serve the least of those among us. Just give Matthew 25 a read and you’ll understand more.
When we give our lives over to God there is no telling what crazy, amazing things He will do through us. Remember that God finds complete JOY in blessing and giving us all that we need! So put your trust in Him and He will give you a life filled with more joy, peace, love, and hope than you could ever imagine!