Jesus is in the upgrade business. He upgrades despair to hope, bondage to freedom, perplexity to peace, and illness to health (to mention but a few). His most significant upgrade for us has to do with our existence. His main motive in coming to this earth is to move us from a position of death to life, from a destination of hell to heaven.
Jesus spoke of the upgrade when he stated, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 KJV). The phrase “have it more abundantly” means to have a superabundance of a thing. It carries with it the idea of overflowing the container, more than one can handle, that which goes beyond necessity, life beyond our wildest dreams.
Here are four aspects of the upgraded life.
It’s a Heaven-Bound Life
This spiritual phenomenon provides a new dimension of life: abundant on this planet and eternal in heaven. Believers are heaven-bound. This reality separates Christians from non-believers. Unbelievers may make more money, live longer, and seem happier than believers. But believers are heaven bound; it makes us unique from them.
The movie Dead Man Walking received its title from the prison guards calling out to the others when a death-row inmate was leaving his cell: “Dead man walking.” In reality, all humanity is like a dead man walking. Our sentence has been set because the consequence of sin is death. But the believer of Jesus Christ has a new classification—Heaven-bound living. Does he still sin? Yes. Does he deserve death? Yes. But because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ he has been given a new birth for today and a new hope for tomorrow.
It’s a Spirit-Controlled Life
God’s Spirit takes up residence in our lives to become the president of our lives. This dynamic transforms our internal world and bleeds into our external world evidenced by a change of behavior and conduct. The key turning the infilling life juices is a daily surrender of control of our lives to the Holy Spirit. This exciting fulfilling life is not something we possess but rather the eternal Spirit possessing us. God takes control of our lives and lives through us.
It’s a Grace-Filled Life
Scripture is clear that life lived in the presence of God is rich both with longing and fulfillment, times of darkness and times of light, times of sweet days and times of dark nights. The Spirit led Jesus into the desert. Jesus experienced darkness in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. Lament, in the Psalms, is as familiar as an old pair of slippers. Even Paul, the model of Christian optimism, said he was “perplexed” and felt weak at times. Yet, in spite of the unpredictable days, the one constant is grace. God’s being infused in our being to make our days and nights bearable.
A grace-filled life understands the remarkable gift of today. Today is a gift, you know, that’s why it’s called the present. In our unpredictable todays, we must find all the life we can and live it to the fullest. The upgraded life comes with an owner’s manual. The Bible instructs every Christ-follower to carve out a satisfying life that is full and complete under the loving rule of God. Abundant life is not determined by how long we live, but how well we live.
It’s a God-Intoxicated Life
The abundant life knows its share of heartache, tragedy, and disappointment. Here’s the point: One can be upgraded to first class on a flight and the plane still crash. Abundant life does not exempt one from adversity. But it knows that the unpleasantness of life can be endured with the presence of God. The intoxicating presence of God provides the rich hues and luster to our otherwise drab and lifeless picture. It’s the richness of God’s presence that provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Would you like an upgrade?
My book, Defining Moments: How God Shapes Our Character Through Crisis, takes a fresh look at the hard times that God uses to shape our character. This book offers hope that God can be found in crisis and shows how He turns our struggles into defining moments—opportunities to dramatically transform His people. Click here to claim your copy.