Tuesday, 20 July 2021
Title: Living The Abundant Life
By: Shaun Ling
Text: John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10: 10 (ESV)
I have often wondered what it really means to have an “abundant life” in Christ. Preachers like Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen often used this as their signature verse to the prosperity gospel, promising (and deceiving) many believers that you are entitled to material gains because God loves His followers and wants them to have good things. This, of course, is a perversion of the gospel. Read in context, the abundant life suggested here has to do with knowing Jesus and being known by Jesus, not material things.
So, what does the “abundant life” really looks like?
My parents have 2 sons and they decided early on that the elder must be a lawyer and the younger must be a doctor. They reckon that if their sons are in these noble professions, they will be set for life, at least materially. For me, after being a lawyer for over 25 years and now in my 50s, I can’t say I am rich like some of my peers. The hope of making lots of money is but a dream.
What about my spiritual life? I have been a Christian since 1986 and although I have shared the gospel a number of times in my life, I don’t remember directly leading more than 2 people to Christ. Not quite the glowing record.
To interpret John 10:10 with a picture of a stress-free life, filled with happiness and prosperity, would be a shallow view. The profound truth in this verse promises superior, elevated spiritual life and life empowered by the indwelling of Jesus Christ. Because we have Christ in our lives, we live in riches. This is what Paul meant when he said that he counted all things lost, that he might win Christ (Phil 3:8).
One of the greatest misconceptions is that a super spiritual life is different from the ones we are currently living. They say that a super spiritual life only exists when we read the Bible, pray to God, fellowship with believers, preaching the gospel and doing charitable works. If that were the case, then we are wasting 95% of our time.
Our spiritual work is far more than ministry work and it includes the work of marriage, parenting, working as a social worker, investor, accountant and even doing your chores. Yes, you read right; washing clothes and mopping the floor of your house is spiritual. So, my identity in Christ is not just as a lawyer but as a father, son, husband, church leader, employer and many more. Truth is, God has put us where we are to fulfil the responsibilities that He has given us. And we are to fulfil these responsibilities to the best of our abilities. It may be going to court submitting orally before the Judge or it may be the “mundane” task of keying in data or even doing taxi runs for your family members.
So, we should embrace our daily life as part of this Christ-exalting-spirit-filled life. We know as we live today, we are preparing for a day to come where our hope in Christ will finally come to pass. What we do today matters to God as we are energized by the knowledge of our future reality. I believe in so doing, we will then embrace the true meaning of living the abundant life in Christ.
Father, we acknowledge that we are eternally grateful for what You have done for us by having our Lord Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. We know we can never outgive You. Help us this day, to learn to live today knowing that we have a much, much better tomorrow. Help us to be patient and to persevere this side of heaven that we may look forward to experience eternity when we meet You. Amen.
我常常在想，在基督里拥有 “丰盛的生命” 到底是什么意思。肯尼斯·寇普兰(Kenneth Copeland)和约尔·欧斯汀(Joel Osteen)等传道人经常以此作为他们成功神学的标志句，向许多信徒承诺(并欺骗)您有权获得物质利益，因为上帝爱祂的跟随者，希望他们得着美好的东西。当然，这是对福音的歪曲。从上下文来看，这里所指丰盛的生命与认识耶稣和被耶稣认识有关，而不是物质。
最大的误解之一是以为超凡的属灵生活和我们现在所过着的生活是不同的。他们说，只有当我们阅读圣经、向上帝祈祷、与信徒相交、宣讲福音和做慈善工作时，才会有超凡的属灵生活。如果是这样的话，我们就是在浪费我们 95% 的时间。
我们的属灵工作远不止事工，它包括婚姻、养儿育女；作为一名社工、投资者、会计师，甚至是做家务。是的，您没看错；洗衣服和抹家里的地板是属灵的。所以，我在基督里的身份不只是一名律师，而且是一位父亲、儿子、丈夫、教会领袖、雇主等等。事实是，上帝把我们安排在我们要去履行祂赋予我们的责任的地方，我们要尽最大努力履行这些责任。这可能是在法庭上向法官提交口头诉状，也可能是一项 “乏味” 的输入数据的任务，甚至是载送您的家人。
因此，我们应该欣然接受我们的日常生活为 “圣灵充满，高举基督” 的一部分。我们知道，我们今天活着的时候，我们是在为将来的一天做准备，在那一天，我们在基督里的盼望将最终实现。我们今天所做的对上帝很重要，因为我们被将来的实情所激励。我相信当我们这么做的时候，我们就领悟那在基督里过着丰盛生命的真谛了。