Finding An Abundant Life Of Faith This Christmas
I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.
What exactly is an abundant life?
Most people will probably agree it includes one or all of them.
But where do they come from? Blessings randomly sprinkled from heaven? A successful enterprise? An enlighten state of being?
Or maybe something you do? Like giving back to the community or pampering yourself with a soothing hot tub after the kids are in bed?
Because if these words spoken by Jesus Christ are true, then why are so many people miserable? Why is Christmas saturated with sentimental feelings, and yet, the highest point of suicides during the year?
It’s often a time we turn to faith for answers. So as you reflect on life’s deeper meanings during this Christmas season and perhaps your own quest for the abundant life, here are some thoughts to consider.
Seek a Reliable Source of Faith
I believe happiness and joy are universal gifts from God that are available to everyone regardless of your belief system. Purpose you discover. Contentment you learn.
And we’re all turning to something in our search for them.
What is it for you? Is it proven? Reliable? Authentic? This is where you start.
And as you search, keep this principle in mind: Intangible rewards come from an intangible source. I think this is where many people go wrong.
They pursue the tangible—like money—to gain the intangible—like happiness. But it only leads to what king Solomon calls chasing after the wind. You can’t get there because the two run on parallel tracks.
Of course, there are many intangible paths to choose from. Which is the right one? And how can you know?
I’ve chosen Christianity as the most unique among all religions, paths to enlightenment and sources of happiness, peace, contentment and purpose. I talk more specifically about what makes it unique in my e-book, Christianity for the Average Joe. Check it out for a conversational explanation of what the Christian faith is all about.
Jesus Christ, its founder, claims to be God and the source of abundant life. Something only he offers. An exclusive claim and a big one at that.
Was he egotistical or self-delusional? And does he deliver?
Well, his path is not all that attractive to a contemporary mindset. It features denying yourself, following him and obeying his commands. So not only is he crazy, you’re a little crazy to follow him.
Which maybe explains why there’s not a bigger crowd following him today.
Even though I don’t think happiness, peace, joy, contentment and purpose are exclusive to following Jesus, he enhances them. Drives them deeper into my life. And builds in a resiliency that flourishes even through life’s ups and downs.
Embrace a Life Long Faith Journey
If you prefer something rational, materially rewarding or more inward and mystical, forget Jesus. Following him is the opposite of all that.
It’s a faith journey that’s outward focused—an approach radically different than every other religion and spiritual teaching. A formula that lives out his practical instructions in a community of believers.
Rather than a short-term fix, it’s a long term solution. And that’s what you should look for. Something that endures for a lifetime in the realities of a confusing world.
Contrary to some opinions, Christianity doesn’t have all the answers. There’s a daily struggle with doubts and your own, imperfect humanity. But there’s also an unexplainable, redemptive and personal presence that empowers and transforms you from the inside out.
And along with the other intangibles of happiness, joy, contentment and purpose, you find the most elusive, yet powerful expression on earth…hope. In this, Christianity stands alone.
Pursue a Faith that Keeps Pleasure in Proper Perspective
Ever watched a TV or movie scene where someone stumbles across the desert, dying of thirst and sees an oasis in the distance, but when they get there it’s a mirage?
That’s how pleasure is.
Like happiness and joy, I believe it’s a universal gift from God for our enjoyment. And when exercised and moderated within its design enhances joy, happiness, peace and contentment.
But ignore the instructions on proper use and what is intended as wholesome and sweet quickly turns unwholesome and sour. Followed by emptiness…longing…even bondage.
Pleasure seduces and allures with its charm. But when experienced only for its own sake, is a mirage. Another dead-end path to happiness and joy that leaves you feeling cheated and empty.
It contributes to and is part of an abundant life. But is unsatisfying by itself.
I guess, when you get down to it, the abundant life is so much of what so few of us want to pursue. And therefore, find it elusive. Always beckoning…and just out of reach. When it’s right in front of us all the time.
I wish you the best in your search. And hope you enjoy an abundant life and meaningful experience this Christmas season.
Professional Copywriter & Pastor of Community Life at Fairhaven Church