Every Sunday, as I sit in the worship service, I see high up over my pastor’s head, these words written on the wall:
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
There are weeks that I have sat there thinking about the first half of this verse that says:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
And I’ve thought… it feels like the devil’s winning. He is stealing and killing and destroying things in my life. And so I wonder, what does an abundant life look like because I look around and I know that other people are facing all sorts of suffering and sorrows as well.
Does the abundant life that Jesus promised include no struggles? Because we know that all throughout the Bible and history, Christians around the world have suffered.
I’m reminded of Hebrews 11:35:38:
Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Is this the abundant life that Jesus promised?
The more I study the book of Psalms, the more I see what God really means when he promised his children an abundant life.
The abundant life is not about financial wealth or earthly comforts – it’s about the rich blessings we receive from God because of the gospel truth and because of our intimate relationship with him.
Abundance equals fullness.
Are we full?
We have full calendars and full closets and full trashcans…but what about our hearts?
If you are a Christian who is compromising,
–you won’t experience it.
If you are a religious hypocrite who gives lip service to loving God but you really don’t love God,
–you won’t experience it.
If you are just a seat warmer in church but not a believer,
–you won’t experience it.
For those who truly love God and live the uncompromising life of following Jesus, our lives are full.
Our lives are full of forgiveness and full of triumph over guilt and shame and sin.
Our God is superior to the enemy and in the end he will trample over him. And anyone with a new life full of faith, full of joy, and full of peace despite their circumstances is experiencing the abundant life. Because those who are walking in the Spirit will experience the fruit of the Spirit and will be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) . No amount of money can buy any of these!
The Abundance of our God – Psalms 65
This brings us to Psalm 65. Let’s look at the abundance of our God and the blessings he has given us.
1.) We have a God who hears our prayers and covers over all of our sins.
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
2 O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
3 When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
2.) We have a God who brings satisfaction and answers our prayers in awesome ways.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
3.) We have a mighty creator who offers hope to everyone – all over the earth.
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
6 the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
4.) Stormy waves are enormously strong. Our God is stronger!
7 who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
5.) Even people at the ends of the earth, see our God’s awesomeness in the beautiful sunrise and sunset every.single.day.
8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
6.) . Our God provides what the earth needs (and what we need) with an abundance of water.
9 You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
7.) Our God causes things to grow in an overflowing bounty and abundance.
and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
8.) Our God causes all of the unseen pastures, hills and valleys, all over the world, to overflow.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
So many times we’ve heard the Christian cliche, “God has a wonderful plan for your life”. In times of heartache, it can sound trite but may we always remember that God DOES have a wonderful plan for us!
It doesn’t mean that life will always be comfortable and easy but it does mean in the end – the enemy who is trying to steal, kill and destroy – loses! And it also means, that the abundant and rich gifts of the Holy Spirit are ours right now!
Psalms 65 says that the hills, meadows and valleys shout and sing for joy out of their overflow of an abundance of grain and flocks. May we shout and sing for joy too! Our God is taking good care of us with more than just food and water, he has forgiven our sins and calls us his children!
May we praise his name forever and may others see in us, the abundant life – fully lived out in our lives.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly
than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us.