I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10b, ESV)
Most people, when they hear these words of Jesus, they automatically picture a life of financial blessings. A life filled with all the toys and stuff that our world, our society, labels as an “abundant” life. But is this what Jesus was talking about? I don’t think so. John 10 is a continuation of John 9. At the end of John 9, Jesus is talking about spiritual blindness. About how we can see Christ’s blessings and His miracles but we still do not see Him. I firmly believe that the abundant life that Jesus is referring to is a life of spiritual abundance. Now, with that being said, let me ask you this question. Do you live an abundant life?
I used to think that I did. I was the Christian guy that all my friends and family would go to for advice. I was the guy that they looked up to, yet, something was missing. Something just did not seem right. My wife has been saying for the past year that I was unhappy and I always told her that it wasn’t true. That I was happy. That although there were some things in our life that I wished were different, I was happy because I had my family. Many of you would probably say that that is an awesome way to put it but the reality is that my wife was right (as she usually is but don’t tell her I said that). I haven’t been happy for quite some time and I couldn’t put my finger on why until recently.
Those of you who know me well, know that I am really into church and church leadership. If I have spoken to you in the last year I have probably shared with you that I believe God has called me to plant a church in my hometown of Green Cove Springs, FL. What you probably do not know is that for the past 8 years I have felt unworthy of anything that God has called me to. That I do not deserve any of it because I am not good enough and am not capable of doing the things that He has called me to do. I put on a good front but deep down this is how I feel. Why? Because I know that I have “hidden my talent” rather than using what God has given me to grow the Kingdom. What’s changed? Recently, I had the privilege of being a part of a book release team for one of my favorite pastors, Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina. I received an advanced copy of his first book, Unleash! Breaking Free From Normalcy, and when I began reading it my eyes were opened.
If you have ever heard Perry Noble preach, you know that he is very colorful with his stories and illustrations. He is a South Carolina southern boy and it shows when he speaks and when he writes. It is through these colorful stories that Pastor P (as his church calls him) is able to meet you right where you are with the Truth of God’s Word.
Chapter 1 begins with Pastor P telling the story of how he never missed a school dance when he was in middle school. It was a huge deal for him, but, he says that he never danced. I bet many of you can relate. Here’s what he says about it.
I talked about dancing. I thought about dancing. I watched
other people dancing. Quite a few times I almost had the courage
to walk onto the dance floor and try dancing.
But I didn’t. I was one of those guys who was always at the
dance but never actually danced.
When I take an honest look at my own life and the lives of the
people around me, I have to wonder: are we doing the same thing
when it comes to following Christ? Maybe we think about doing
something radical for God. Maybe we even dream that one day
we’ll be more than we are today. But we end up merely standing
against the wall, never experiencing the rhythm of God’s grace. We
don’t embrace His promise of a life that is beyond our imagination.
They say life is a dance but how many of us are standing against the walls rather than enjoying all the dance has to offer. In school I was the same way. I went to all the dances but I never joined in the fun. Why? I don’t know because believe it or not I could dance. In fact, my uncle (he’s younger than me), a friend, and myself won numerous dance contest at a local “teen dance” that we use to attend so, I was capable of dancing but I just didn’t do it. Why? Simply because I allowed myself to be tied down by my fears of rejection, ridicule, etc.
Perry Noble, for the next 10 chapters, talks about what hinders us from having that abundant life. He addresses things such as The Performance Trap, Moving Past Your Past, and The Great American Lie to even dealing with a common cliche in church that God will never give you More Than You Can Handle.
I strongly encourage you to pick up this book and read it. God never intended for you to live a normal life but a life filled with spiritual abundance. He never intended for us to live a life limited by the walls and barriers we put up. In fact, as Perry Noble puts it:
We can live a life that is unleashed because of whose we are, not who we are.
So I challenge you, get off that wall and join the dance.