Last week, I began sharing on how to live the abundant life Jesus promised. Today, in part two of this series, I will continue our discussion on this important topic. For Jesus, living an abundant life was not a lofty goal to be attained in the future. Rather, it was the essence of our new life and relationship in Him.
After sharing with His audience how they can know His voice and trust Him (John 10:1-21) and how He was the door or entrance for the sheep, He makes a profound statement about abundant life:
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:9-10 NKJV)
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, or good king, unlike those who were just looking for power and control over the people. Further, He is the gate, or door. In many Eastern sheepfolds, the shepherd lies down at night in the gateway to stop the sheep from getting out and to stop predators from getting in.
From this perspective, Jesus is stating, “I came to give my sheep a protected, fulfilled, and abundant life, as a good shepherd or king, to My people. I will protect them from going out when they shouldn’t and I will protect them from enemies coming in.”
Abundantly used in John 10:10 translates from Greek word perissos which means “exceeding (the usual number or the usual measure)”; in John 10:10, perissos could be translated as “have in superabundance.” 
Consider the contrast: the enemy wants to rob and destroy, but God wants you to overflow with superabundance. He wants you to experience an overflow of His love, grace, and provision! The favor on your life draws upon the inheritance that is already yours in Christ! God releases favor to those who pursue His purpose and assignment.
Principle #1: Allow Jesus to be Your Shepherd, the Lord of your life!
Abundant living begins with allowing Jesus to be Lord of your life, and it is maintained through daily pursuit of Him. Relationship with Christ is the beginning of abundant living.
When we surrender our hearts to Jesus and begin to follow Him, we begin to learn His voice and trust deepens. Sheep by nature are nervous. They need a shepherd to calm, guide, and protect them. Jesus promises we will hear His voice, and He promises to guide us, give us His peace, and protect us as we allow Him to be our shepherd.
Twentieth-century pastor and author, Norman Vincent Peale, made this statement about trusting God and avoiding worry, “The basic secret of overcoming worry is the substitution of faith for fear as your dominant mental attitude.”
Fear is the antithesis to faith. Allow faith-filled thinking to dominate your thoughts. Faith faces challenges with an expectation that “God has this!”
Those who don’t know Christ, don’t understand this simple truth—sheep know the voice of their shepherd, and the shepherd knows his sheep and cares for them!
We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We love Him because He first loved us. Jesus is our Rock—our foundation for abundant living.
Principle #2: Understand God’s Covenant is one of Abundant Life
God’s covenant with us includes abundant living (John 10:10). Your born-again experience is the beginning of new and abundant living in Christ. Growing in biblical understanding of abundant living and true prosperity builds faith for the “more of God” He longs to release in your life.
An important step toward experiencing full biblical prosperity (spirit, soul, and body) is to believe this is God’s highest desire for you.
The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” (Prov. 10:22 NKJV)
As we walk with Jesus—fullness of life and true riches follow—He adds no sorrow with His blessings!
Moses gives a command and promise in Deuteronomy,
And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish (confirm) His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:18 NKJV)
Power is from the Hebrew kōaḥ which means divine strength and ability. In this verse, we could say, “God gives us divine strength, power, and ability to create wealth.”
For the believer, wealth creation is supernatural! It is God who empowers you to create wealth—not our own wisdom, might, or efforts. Sure, we partner with God, but the Christian recognizes it is God who gives the increase.
God has given each of us divine empowerment to make a living and create wealth. We should expect increase from our work to be realized in material gain. Expect creativity, insight, even strength to do your work—the greater one lives in you! He can do exceedingly abundantly above!!
Principle #3: To Know God Intimately is Abundant Life
Last week, the Lord reminded me of a verse most of us know by heart:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8 NKJV)
You might be wondering, “How does this apply to living an abundant life?” Let me answer by looking deeper at the words pure and see in this verse.
Pure is from the Greek katharós and means “sincere, single-hearted, upright”. We could say of this verse, “blessed or happy are those who are upright, sincere and have a single focus toward God.” When we are upright with God—focused upon Him—our motives and actions are pure. Purity then is a pathway to abundant life.
See is from the Greek horáō and means “to see, perceive with the eyes, discern, implying not merely the act of seeing, but also the actual perception of some object”… In a wider sense, to see God means “to be admitted to his presence and special favor“ (Matt. 5:8). 
We could say then that those who are upright, sincere, and single-hearted toward God will be admitted into His presence with special favor! They will perceive God with their eyes and discern His presence and ways. To perceive God, to know God intimately… this is abundant life!
Our ability to perceive God’s truth and presence is vital to living a satisfied, confident, abundant life. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8 NKJV) Those who are singularly focused on the Lord and pure of heart will see and perceive God and His ways.
Jesus is the light of the world. His light and life permeate everyone. To those who believe, His light brings them out of darkness into life and freedom from condemnation. This is step one to living the abundant life He promised (John 10:10). Those who ignore His light and message, remain in condemnation and darkness (See John 3:16-21).
George Fox, founder of the Quakers, in the seventeenth century, had frequent encounters with the Lord. On one occasion, God gave him understanding of the light of Jesus,
Now the Lord God hath opened to me by his invisible power how that every man was enlightened by the divine light of Christ; I saw it shine through all, and that they that believed in it came out of condemnation and came into the light of life and became the children of it, but they that hated it, and did not believe in it, were condemned by it, though they made a profession of Christ.”
Principle #4: Learn to be Content
Paul learned how to live in prosperity and to live very humbly. He learned how to be content in every situation, at peace with what God granted each day.
Paul told Timothy that “godliness with contentment is great gain…” (1 Tim. 6:6 NKJV)
Notice in this short verse there are two components: godliness (righteousness) and contentment. There is no true contentment for the unrighteous. Righteous living provides a foundation for Godly contentment. A double-minded person is unstable in all their ways and will not find contentment when their allegiance is toward the things of the world and not solely toward God.
Paul commended the Philippians for their generous support while he was in prison and stated a truth about Godly contentment in his letter to them:
I’m not saying this because I need anything, for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor. I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:11-13 CEB)
On your road to destiny, do not grumble along the way, but learn to be content in every situation as you trust God! The children of Israel were led out of bondage into their destiny only to grumble during adversity, “Well, it would be better to be back in Egypt because at least we had leeks and onions there.”
In the early 90s, Carolyn and I were missionaries in Haiti. Haiti’s power grid is marginal at best. When we lived there, it was common to have electricity only a couple hours a day. Most of us had generators and electrical inverter systems to power our homes.
I learned the value of being content in God when we went nine days there with no electricity. After a couple of days of this, I started grumbling. Then, because we had no electricity to pump water to our water tank that fed our gravity-fed water system, we ran out of water for showers. So, I kept complaining. Finally, on the 9th day, we ran out of stove gas unexpectedly. I couldn’t even make coffee that morning! I began to pray, repent for my complaining, and can you guess what happened? Later that day, the electricity came back on!
Thank God for every blessing and be content with what you have while you wait in faith for your dreams to be realized. Grumblers lack faith and rarely see mountains move!
The simple things are what really matters; Godly contentment is great gain and part of living an abundant life! Enjoying each day with the Lord, our loved ones, and friends… Being thankful for food, clothes, your home, and simple life… they are all vital. Perspective is important to maintain a happy and fulfilled life.
Paul and the early Church learned how to be content with each other. They were not problem-free, but they valued community—meeting corporately and from house to house. Paul was content in a prison because abundant life was a state of being from his life in Christ.
No church is perfect—you and I are in it! But learn to be content and contribute as a family member of God’s household!
Being content also means taking responsibility for yourself. Being a good steward of your time, your treasure, and your talents position you for abundant living.
Invest your time wisely and redeem time properly for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Use the resources God gives you with a heart attitude toward the enlargement of His kingdom—winning souls and making disciples. Use your giftings for His glory, for you are His workmanship created for good works (Eph. 2:10).
Proper rest, nutrition, and exercise are all important aspects of being content. During this pandemic, staying positive, motivated, and hopeful has been a struggle for some. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually helps ward off negativity and depression (Prov. 4:23).
Principle #5: Be Content, but Learn to Ask God for More!
Paul declared in Ephesians 3:20 about the power of petitionary prayer, that God would grant “…above all that we ask or think…” (NKJV).
Here lies a “paradox” in God’s Kingdom. We need to learn to be content, free of striving and grasping for “things” and “stuff”… Yet, God also challenges us to “ask for more!”
It is a heart issue—a stewardship issue. Can you be entrusted with more? What is your motive for more? Do you have a Kingdom focus?
Above all that we ask or imagine—God is limitless—but you and I need to ask.
And I tell you: Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, the door is opened. “Which father among you would give a snake to your child if the child asked for a fish? If a child asked for an egg, what father would give the child a scorpion? If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? (Luke 11:9-13 CEB)
Hmmm, “… ask and you will receive … how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Sounds like an abundance to me!
The three imperatives (ask, seek, and knock) are in the Greek present tense, suggesting a continuous asking, seeking, and knocking. Greek for ask is aitéo and means “to request or petition one who is a superior”. I discuss this in greater detail in my book, Our Eyes are On You: Principles to Prevail in Faith and Prayer.
There is something in the asking that releases God’s power “…according to the power that works in us,” (Eph. 3:20) in and through us. Petitionary prayer places a demand on heaven. Genuine faith moves God’s heart to respond. Motives are the key. Ask yourself, “Are my motives kingdom focused?”
In the mid-90’s, Carolyn and I were youth leaders at a church in central Florida. We needed a newer vehicle for our family. But after returning from Haiti as missionaries the previous year, I had a “poverty mentality.” In my effort to be a good steward of God’s resources, I was tight with our funds about purchases. It was affecting my thinking—and my family.
So, when we began to pray for a minivan for our family, at first, I felt “shame for asking.” My attitude was, “well, what about the poor, they could never purchase a van like we desire?” Again, I was affected by our experience with systemic poverty while on the mission field. But my thinking was mired in a poverty mindset and false humility.
We needed a good vehicle for our family; false humility was not God’s abundance for us. Do not get arrogant, but do not be falsely humble either! Once I got free of this type of thinking, we began to pray in agreement for a vehicle and God quickly provided us with a nice Plymouth Voyager minivan that we had for a few years. The vehicle was God’s blessing for our family and for the ministry to which we were called—others were blessed because we received God’s blessing.
The Lord is good, and you are blessed when you trust him completely!
David wrote right after he reached an exceptionally low point in his life,
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:8-10 NKJV)
These are powerful declarative statements and promises—trust Him always!
The Lord wants to release all that is needed for you to accomplish running your race well and finishing strong—He is the Good Shepherd!
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message, “Principles To Live An Abundant Life, Part 2”:
 Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–), 77.
 S. T. Bloomfield, A Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament (London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1840), 192.
 Ibid., 302.