"For Paul, the Christian life was not a hobby; it was his very life. This is what should be normal Christian living. With most of us our Christian life is subnormal." - Dr. Grant C. Richison
"Heavenly values will translate into earthly values when we are centered on Christ, allowing His work in and through us." - Into Thy Word Ministries
"To seek heavenly things is to set our affections upon them, to love them and let our desires be towards them. Upon the wings of affection the heart soars upwards, and is carried forth towards spiritual and divine objects. We must acquaint ourselves with them, esteem them above all other things, and lay out ourselves in preparation for the enjoyment of them." - Matthew Henry
"Because our lives are hidden with Christ in heaven, we must set our minds on, and let our attitudes be determined by the things above. We must value, judge, view, and consider, everything from an eternal and heavenly perspective. Our goals, pursuits, and ambitions should be to seek spiritual things, resist sin, and put on the character of Christ. Spiritual graces, power, experiences, and blessings are all with Christ in heaven." - The Full Life Study Bible
"How many professing Christians are there who regard little else than worldly things! How many who live only to acquire wealth, to gain honor, or to enjoy the pleasures of the world!...These are the real enemies of the cross. It is not so much those who deny the doctrines of the cross, as it is those who oppose its influence on their hearts; not so much those who live to scoff and deride religion, as it is those who "mind earthly things," that injure this holy cause in the world" - Barnes' Notes
Most Christians are familiar with John 10:10 which says - "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 it more abundantly." What Jesus was promising here for the believer was "life" - superabundant...superfluous...overflowing ... over and above a certain quality...or a quality so abundant. It is life with advantage - with all the things super-added to make it eminently blessed and happy. It is a life full of grace, peace, love, salvation, joy, exuberance, glory, and happiness. It entails being a follower of Jesus and knowing Who He is. Also, it suggests a life lived at the highest level in obedience to God's will...reflecting His glory...and being empowered by the indwelling Christ.
Contrary to what many believe, John 10:10 promises a spiritual dimension to life - not a physical abundance. A focus on the physical just trivializes the profound depth of its meaning.
What is the "thief" really after in the saints' lives? Is he after the physical, carnal, or temporal blessings? Or is he after the most costly gift in their lives - the "life" that is found in a relationship with or through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Satan desires to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy" "life" - that "abundant life" found in Jesus.
What comprises that "abundant life" to which Jesus referred?
There are several Scriptures which give us a picture of what this "abundant life" looks like. They are as follows:
Matthew 6:19 says - "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."
A "treasure" was an abundance of something. In the "abundant life" which Jesus promised, the believer does not pile up worldly wealth for worldly purposes. His life is not wrapped up in worldly-mindedness or covetousness. He has not chosen this world for his reward. He does not make the things seen - temporal things - the best things - counting them precious and most valuable or placing his happiness in them. He realizes that his heart is designed for God and eternity and worldly riches have in themselves a principal of corruption and decay. He also is fully aware of the fact that through worldly-mindedness and covetousness, Satan has a surer and faster hold on his soul to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy."
John 17:3 says - "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent."
This "life" lived on a higher level which Jesus spoke about entails pursuing the knowledge of God - a life of acquaintance with Him - yielding the whole soul to Him and striving to obey His laws. As the "thief," Satan seeks to rob the believer of this aim or pursuit by placing every imaginable distraction along his path.
Ephesians 4:15 says - "...may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."
The "abundant life" includes having the believer more and more take on Christ's traits - growing into His likeness...being deeply rooted in Him in all things...and becoming one with Him. Satan seeks to draw the believer away from this conformity into a conformity with the world, the flesh, or himself - the devil.
Philippians 1:21 says - "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Jesus offers the "abundant life" to the believer whose sole object for living is to glorify Him. This saint of God makes Him the supreme end of his life ...the model of his life...and the chief ambition or object. With singleness and zeal, he devotes himself to His honor. Satan works on the believer to consume his time and energy with the pursuit of money, pleasure, education, or a career. These things are not wrong in and of themselves. However, they do become a "snare of the fowler" when they become the chief purpose of the believer's life instead of Christ.
Philippians 3:18-19 says - "(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"
The believer who is partaking of the "abundant life" has set his heart and affections on eternal things. It is the "thief" whose main directive is to cause him to set his heart on earthly things... live to obtain them...direct his attention to honor, gain, popular applause, wealth, riches, or pleasure...have a chief anxiety to secure these objects... have his whole study and attention consumed with these matters...be given over to flesh and lusts... and have no relish for spiritual or heavenly matters.
Colossians 3:2 says - "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
The believer who partakes of the "abundant life" is one who is fixing his attention decisively on the things above. In all his earthly affairs, he "thinks heaven." He loves heavenly things... studies them...highly prizes and values them...and allows his heart to be entirely engrossed by them. Satan desires to see the child of God doting upon earthly and perishing things...expecting too much from them...minding temporal employments, riches, and honors...and having his affections fixed on houses, lands, fashion, and amusements.
Colossians 3:4 says - "When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear..."
Satan wants the believer to make his Christian walk a hobby rather than his very life. "Abundant life" can be defined as a life which holds Christ as its very source and sustenance.
2 Peter 3:18 says - "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..."
The "abundant life" is when the believer increases in the image and favor of God. It is also when he treasures the knowledge of God because it conforms him more and more to Christ. Satan fights these two areas of growth more than anything else. Do we wonder why - when both components cause the saint to become more and more like Jesus?
2 John 4 says - "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father."
"Abundant life" is when the children of God "walk in truth" - live in accordance with the truth of His Word. Satan is the "thief" who comes to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy" so that this will never happen.
"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 it more abundantly."
Robertson's Word Pictures had this statement to offer - "The Christian has to keep his feet upon the earth, but his head in the heavens."
When you think of "abundant life," what immediately comes to mind - earthly blessings or spiritual ones?
When Jesus said that He came to bring "life," He had more in mind than a few temporal blessings. Being "Life" itself, He came to offer Himself to all - with all of His many wonderful benefits.
Are you pursuing the "Life" promised to you? Have you forgotten that there is a "thief" who came to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy"?
What has he done so far to keep you from God's best in your life?