How to Lead an Abundant Life that is Simple
Christ Jesus promised us all an abundant life if we follow Him obediently. We all want that. The question is: are we all experiencing it? I dare say we are not. I believe most people feel “the grind” of daily life and silently wonder, “Is this all there is?” or “Is this what life was really meant to be?” If you are one of those people, this post is for you.
Pangs that make us wonder if we’re really fulfilling our God-given purpose, destiny, and calling can plague us deeply. We may feel like we’re falling short of what God truly created us to do, and the God-given potential He deposited within us. We all have gifts, talents, and passions that are deeply seated in who we are and why He created us. They’re tied to our identity in Him, linking directly to our purpose and destiny before the foundation of the world. Yet fulfilling them may seem like reaching for the stars. And then we wonder about what will be left of our lives once we are gone. Will we have a legacy? Will there be anything left of us that made our lives worthwhile for the generations yet to come? Or will our lives be wasted doing jobs we hate and accumulating things that will ultimately perish? If you are someone who is frustrated, wondering what the abundant life is really all about and how it’s achieved, these may be questions you struggle with privately.
Be willing to squarely face your life and examine
what is holding you back from pursuing your God-given purpose.
I believe these are very normal questions, which give credence to our Creator. They are evidence of Him and the life He has purposed you to live. If you’re wondering if there is more — it’s because there is.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have itmore abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep,” (John 10:7-11, KJV).
In this post I want to talk about what the abundant life really is, and what it isn’t. You can make deliberate decisions, making room for God to move strategically in key areas of your life. But first, we must define the abundant life, eliminating the misperceptions. Because, I believe that for many it’s very misunderstood, being defined by a Western culture and mindset that would convince us the abundant life is directly tied to what we have, with the goal of obtaining more — when what we really need is less.
I believe the main thing that holds people back from pursuing their God-given purpose is their pursuit of this world.
They have believed the lie that the abundant life is in what we obtain, instead of what we produce.
The Principle of Fruitfulness
Since the beginning, God has always measured abundance by our fruitfulness.
God created us with a purpose, giving both His blessing and command to “be fruitful and multiply” (see Genesis 1:28). Abundance can only happen when we are fruitful. The abundant life Christ promises is not about what we obtain; it’s about what we produce. It’s not about what we have; it’s about what we give. It’s not about our things; it’s about God’s people.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples,” (John 15:1-8, KJV).
There is a world out there that needs you, your gifts, your talents, your ideas, your skills, your knowledge, your experience, and your life. Your purpose, calling and destiny in God is unique to you. Only you can fulfill it. But if you’re a slave to what you own, you’ve sold yourself at a very high price. All of that will pass away. But if you dare to fulfill your calling, making key life decisions toward it, you’ll leave a legacy that will live for generations to come. That seed will continue bearing fruit long after you’re gone.
The abundant life Christ promises is measured by what you produce —
not by what you obtain.
People who have discovered this truth are desperate to escape this Western lifestyle. How they go about doing it varies widely. Take, for example, the new movement toward tiny homes which is featured on HGTV. This is one of the more popular examples. People have discovered that living with less is actually more, affording them the opportunity to fulfill their destiny. Conversely, our western culture has taught us that the abundant life is not in what we produce, but in how much we own. We measure our worth and success in terms of monetary gain, housing, cars, stocks, and education. But our marriages are failing and our families are falling apart. Our kids are addicted to porn and drugs, or wasting their lives on games and entertainment. They are bored and unfulfilled. God does not measure fruitfulness by any of these things. All of these things will perish.
The fruitfulness He desires will always be directly tied to your purpose, calling, and destiny in Him.
If you’re following Him obediently, abiding in Christ, He promises that you will bear much fruit. An obedient life will result in a fruitful life and a destiny that is fulfilled. You will leave a legacy that extends far beyond you and what you own — regardless of whether you’re rich or poor.
The Principle of Sowing & Reaping
Christ gives a parable describing four types of soil conditions and the type of fruit that came forth from the lives of those who received His Word accordingly.
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word.
And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred,” (Mark 4:13-20, KJV).
What is choking you? What is offending you? There are too many of you out there with dreams that have died. There are too many of you out there who are wondering if this is all there is to your life. All of our lives are very different, so the changes you’ll need to make will be unique to you. Whatever they are, I believe you can begin making key decisions in life that put God at the center, so you can begin truly being fruitful in Him as He intended.
The abundant life is measured only in your fruitfulness. But most of us have believed the lie that the abundant life is in what we accumulate or obtain. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Christ said, we really can gain the whole world and lose our souls.
The enemy has robbed multitudes from the true abundance Christ has promised
with lies that lead them into the pursuit of this world.
It will pass away.
The Principle of Pruning
Living a simple life will do the following:
1.) It will enable you to focus.
2.) It will afford you time to invest with God and the people you love.
3.) It will eliminate unnecessary stress.
4.) It will free you from time-consuming and expensive obligations toward material things that begin to dominate your life.
5.) It will save you money
Here are some quick tips on how you can take action toward making that happen:
Streamline things: Look at your bills. Examine your lifestyle. Chop anything you don’t truly need. Cut it out; cut it off. Consider where things overlap. The more you own, the more required of you to take care of it properly.
Minimize: Take inventory. Two cars? Can you possibly get by with one? Lose the clutter. Sell the excess. What is weighing on you? Get rid of it. God prunes away what does not bear fruit in our lives. You must be willing to do the same.
Scale down: If you want a simpler life, sometimes drastic decisions are necessary. Is your vehicle costing you more than your house payment? Take, for example, the number of people who are now buying ‘tiny homes’. Where and what can you scale down?
Slow down: Do a thorough life assessment. Your time is one thing that you’ll never get back. Are you truly spending your life doing what you’re called to do? Is your passion and purpose being fulfilled? If not — don’t waste another moment. Slow down, because before you know it you’ll have lived half your life and you’ll have to face the fruit of what you’ve accomplished thus far. Also, when it comes to close relationships, be very careful with whom you invest your time.
I learned years ago that less is more. But the world will do all it can to convince you otherwise. I’ve come to a place in life where I can enjoy it, but It’s glitter no longer dazzles me. I’m over it. In fact, I’ve become quite hard to impress. As a traveler I’ve learned just how little I really need. I’ve lived out of my suitcase for a year and have not lacked. Although this lifestyle is not glamorous, it’s taught me key truths. I can survive very well on very little. The things that are missing are those things money can’t buy: family, friends, church, and community. These are the things I miss, and their absence is glaring. I’m happiest when I’m spending quality time with the people I love, and fulfilling God’s call on my life. The simple pleasures in life are so valuable. Physically, I really don’t require much at all. My greatest needs by far are social and spiritual. Relationships are what matter. Does that mean we have to live in poverty or like a pauper? Absolutely not! But I have honestly learned why Paul could say that if they had clothing and food, they would be content (see 1 Timothy 6:8).
Our lives are full of excess. We have too much of what we don’t need, and not enough of what we do. I’ve many times gone through my things wondering, “Why do I have this?” As a habit, I annually clear out every nook and cranny of my home. And I’m always amazed at how much junk I accumulate in a year’s time. In short, I find a ton of wasted money, wasted time, and things I forgot I had. What a waste. This yearly purge is very liberating. I have nice things, but I try to live very trim. I have done all I can to simplify life, and I will tell you it has saved me in more ways than one. The investments I make have to be worthy. And most of those investments are now in people, God’s kingdom, and my calling — not my stuff. I have learned to focus my energies and resources into what is of eternal value. You can’t take anything to heaven with you but souls.
Pruning is painful.
Yet it is extraordinarily liberating.
When I talk to people, the number one thing they want to be free from are their obligations to MONEY. It’s the number one thing that presses them into jobs and lifestyles they otherwise hate and despise, because it ultimately robs them. This is where so many get trapped in the “grind”. When we don’t have our priorities aligned with God, the things of this world come to rob and cheat us of what is truly valuable in life.
God led me to make strategic decisions throughout my life at different intervals that required enormous sacrifices. At the time, they were so painful that I wondered if they would even be worth it. I’ve had many times in life when I didn’t understand what God was doing.
I have no doubt that you will also have difficult decisions to make as you move out in faith toward your purpose, calling, and destiny. Things will have to change — sometimes drastically. God will call you to make very painful decisions, which at the time may seem very strange, uncomfortable, and even illogical or irrational. But if you’re going to bear fruit and live the abundant life He’s called you to live — they will be necessary.
With that said, try to simplify your life as best you can. We do that by valuing what God values. Honor what He honors. Invest in those things that are of eternal value. That doesn’t mean you can’t own anything of worth here. But put it in its rightful place. Your belongings should not dominate you. They should serve you. Be careful of what you’re serving. Christ said where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Our treasure must be in heaven; not on earth. We cannot serve both God and money and monetary gain.
Your legacy should be one that far outlives you. That will only happen when you invest in people, God’s kingdom, and your calling. Begin pruning your life, eliminating everything that is robbing you, sucking you dry, or that is not bearing fruit. Sadly, that includes relationships as well. There will be those God calls you to let go of for the sake of His kingdom and your calling.
Prune your life and the weight will lift. You’ll be amazed at how free you become.
The Principle of Abiding in Christ
Christ said we will be known by our fruit:
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” (Matthew 7:16-23, KJV).
Doing the will of the Father is what determines our fruit-bearing status. The strategy for fruitfulness has never changed. You must learn to abide in Christ. To the degree that you stray from Him, you’re going to be dry and feel very frustrated or lost. When you abide in Him, you’ll find Him pruning your life so you can become even more fruitful. And when that is accomplished — you will fulfill your purpose and destiny in Him. Guaranteed.
The abundant life will never be realized in what we obtain. If we believe that lie, we are at risk for gaining the world and losing our souls. That strategy will ultimately rob us. The abundant life is only realized in what we produce. And our fruitfulness — whether thirty, sixty, or one-hundred fold, is only determined by how well we abide in Christ, who is our True Vine.
Those who abide in Him will bear much fruit.
They will live the abundant life He promised.
Now go with His blessing and fulfill His command: “Be fruitful and multiply! Subdue the earth, and fill it!”
Cheers & Shalom,
Image Credit: LoggaWiggler | Pixabay