Many popular television preachers unabashedly encourage Christians to “live in abundance.” These preachers are not wrong, are they? After all, God bestowed vast power and material blessings on Biblical figures such as Joseph, Daniel and King David. Jesus Himself stated, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10.10)
But what is ‘abundance’? Is it having enough money to meet our monthly needs? Or an enormous store of power, friends, connections or wealth? Does it mean being in love?
If so, what happens when the IRS wrongfully seizes all your assets? Or office politics gets you fired from the job you love, though you did nothing wrong? What about when you are served with divorce papers? Or your doctor confirms the worst after your last test? Can we still live in abundance then?
Let’s look at two other Biblical guys, Silas and Paul. They were wrongfully sent to prison. There were no windows and they could not walk around. They were to be shackled underneath the town of Philippi until they died. Faced with this unbearable reality, these guys burst out singing. Why? Because they couldn’t help themselves — they lived in abundance. They were not ‘happy’ to be in prison. But prison was merely a circumstance. They lived in truth and love, and thus joy and abundance was their reality!
See, abundance is a mindset. Abundance is the peace of mind resulting from your decision and effort to live authentically in joy, truth, love, gratitude and in service to others.
Joy never arises from a number in your bank account, the current weather conditions, or what model car you drive. To live in joy is to consistently think about the person we wish to become and take daily action to become that person. If we do, we will find joy, peace and freedom. . . whether we are on top of the world . . . or chained in a cold, dank, bleak Philippi prison.
Life will chain you in that Philippi prison every now and then. When we lose someone we love, a relationship ends, or the inevitable struggles and frustrations of this world occur.
Let’s look again at the lives of Joseph, Daniel and King David. They were not always wealthy, uber-powerful leaders. They all saw horrific things happen. But whether betrayed by their own brothers, having spears hurled at them, wrongfully accused of adultery, cast in prison . . . or a potential midnight snack for some hungry lions, these men lived in joy, truth, love and abundance. They lived exactly the same when their fortunes improved, each becoming one of the very elite of the ruling class of a dominant world civilization. In those period of their lives, each possessed power, fame and money beyond the dreams of avarice.
And, yet, they lived the same as they always had lived: In simple yet confident peace of mind, joy, truth, love and gratitude.
They lived in abundance.
May you and I live abundantly. No matter the condition of our current circumstances.