If it’s okay with you, I’d like to ask another question to get us closer to a definition of the abundant life. If it’s not okay – well – I guess you should stop reading, because I’m going to ask it anyway. If this was a magical Harry Potter genie blog, and it could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for? And don’t give me that wish for more wishes crap.
I would ask for a long life with a good family. I would wish for a job doing ministry where I can use the gifts God has given me to make a difference in people’s lives, and I would wish for enough money to be comfortable financially but also enough to give away. What were your wishes?
Now comes the much more difficult question. Why did you wish for each of those things? Take each of your wishes and ask why you want it, then take you answer and ask why you want that until you distill the wish down to a basic core desire in your life. I’ll show you what I mean with my wishes.
Wish 1: A long life with a good family
Why do I want a long life with a good family? Well I’ve always wanted to be married and I’ve always wanted to have kids. Why have I always wanted a wife and kids? Ultimately I realize that beneath my desire for a good family is the desire to be loved and to love well. So the core desire is love.
Wish 2: A ministry job
Why do I want a ministry job? I want a ministry job because I want a job that I love doing. Why do I want a job that I love doing? I want a job that I love because that is something that brings me joy. Having a job that I love and doing it well brings me a lot of joy. So the core desire here is joy.
Wish 3: Enough money to be comfortable
Why do I want enough money to be comfortable? It’s because I don’t want to have to worry about money. Why don’t I want to worry about money? It’s because I want the peace of not needing to worry about anything. So the core desire is peace.
What three core desires did you come up with? I’m guessing a lot of you found ones similar to mine. I believe love, joy, and peace are three desires hardwired into our design. And I think there are more. I think we all desire a life of patience, or a life that isn’t so rushed and busy. I think we all desire a life of kindness. We all want people to treat us with kindness and fairness. Do you see where this is going?
Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, “I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit…When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. These fruits characterize our new lives. The life of the Holy Spirit is immersed in these characteristics; it swims in them. These are characteristics of the abundant life given to us as followers of Jesus, and this, in my opinion is a very simple definition of the abundant life.