by Terrie McKee
I accepted Christ when I was 12 years old, but I didn’t grasp the concept of living abundantly in Christ until I was in my thirties. A lot of time, experiences, and trauma had passed during that time period, which only made my hunger for Christ grow.
Coveting an abundant life in Christ made me understand this truth: Christ died on the cross to eliminate our sins, but He rose from the grave to give us abundant life that can only be found in Him.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:17, “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Indeed, Christ’s gift of grace on the cross precedes His gift of abundant, righteousness reign for us.
Christ didn’t rise from the tomb for us to go around being melancholy, with perpetual sad faces. Living a life of abundance in Christ means letting the whole world see our sunshiny faces with smiles testifying to the glorious work Christ has done—and is doing—in us.
5 Practical Tips for Living an Abundant Life in Christ
How do we “work out our salvation,” as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:12, to have an abundant life in Christ? It starts with having a relationship in Christ, accepting Him as your Savior and repenting of sin, then working on the relationship with Christ.
For example, how do you grow relationships now? You talk with your friend, your read their texts or social media posts, and you are invested in their lives. Growing a relationship with Christ is much the same way. Prayer, reading the Bible, and loving the things of God are ways you grow the relationship with Him. These are ways that you communicate with the Lord in a two-way conversation of prayer and reading the Scriptures.
Reading the Bible is good, but studying the Bible enables you to learn the deep nuggets of truth that are hidden like buried treasure. Invest in a good Bible handbook that shares what the culture was like in biblical times. This tool will give you a view into the everyday lives of people in bible times, and therefore a different angle into biblical stories.
For example, Luke mentions that Mary wrapped the baby in swaddling cloths, but he doesn’t mention that swaddling cloths, handmade by the mother during the entire pregnancy, were yards and yards of woven cloth with salt pounded in them. While Mary and her growing belly likely faced staring eyes and pointing fingers at the town well, she was going home to weave cloth in preparation for Jesus’ birth. That little tidbit of information about swaddling cloths gives us a whole new viewpoint on Mary and even the waiting before Christmas, doesn’t it?
Another tool to use in study is a good Bible dictionary. Besides pronunciation, a biblical dictionary can help identify people and places, as well as theological concepts. This can be invaluable in understanding difficult issues. The last tool, besides a good study Bible in a translation (not a paraphrase), is a good commentary. By far the most popular is a commentary by theologian Matthew Henry. It is readily accessible on websites such as BibleGateway, or as a book version. It gives you learned insights that help you understand the theology, culture, history, and backstory of every verse in the Bible.
Prayer is the wireless connection to God that is always open. When Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn in two, from the top—a powerful action from God Himself that declared no one but Jesus was to go between God and man. Learning how to pray, and making prayer a priority, enables you to communicate directly with God—no middle man, no in-between.
I love when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. Imagining Jesus sitting on the side of the bed, gently waking me up, and saying, “Come on, I have something to tell you!” I rise, go to the living room, read my Bible, and pray. It’s always such sweet times—just me and the Lord, having serious quiet time. Afterwards, I always sleep so peacefully, and wake feeling refreshed.
Having friendships and fellowship with like-minded Christian friends can be refreshing and integral to an abundant life in Christ. Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Christ-like friends sharpen each other, holding one another accountable and encouraging each other in the Word. If you don’t have a community of faith that encourages you, seek one out.
Just as Christ-like friends sharpen each other, a Bible-believing, Word-preaching church strengthens believers and assists them in forging their armors of God. A church that is centered on Christ and uncompromising in biblical beliefs raise up servant-soldiers to spread the Gospel and to minister to others in Jesus’ name.
Be on guard, however, for false teachers. Nothing can zap abundant life in Christ faster than going to a church that encourages false teaching and biblical untruth.
An abundant life in Christ means daily falling more in love with Jesus, so that He dominates your thoughts and actions. When this happens, you will indeed harvest the Fruit of the Spirit.
About the Author
Terrie Bentley McKee is a Christian author and speaker. She writes and speaks with authority, drawing from personal experiences such as surviving trauma, caregiving, parenting special needs children, autism, and surviving domestic violence. Married, she has three adult children and one elementary-aged daughter who she homeschools. Terrie blogs at NearYourAltar.com.