What is a Bountiful Life?                                             

 

We often hear the saying, “It is not the length of a person’s life that matters, but its quality.” The speaker may not be a Christian, because when it comes to the discussion of the quality of life, different religions all have their own perception and interpretation. Other religions as well will teach people to abandon the worldly, seek truth, and use life wisely. For example, Master Sheng Yen of Dharma Drum Mountain also teaches people to seek spiritual preservation, using the perspective and method of transcendental meditation to elevate human quality, so that enlightenment and Buddhadharma may be achieved. (Spiritual preservation is the central tenet of Dharma Drum Mountain) Even amongst Buddhists there are those who know how to use modern language to explain what a “Bountiful Life” is.

 

We should clearly understand what the Bible means by a bountiful life. Even new believers will perhaps understand that a “Bountiful Life” does not mean a life of plenty, for Jesus Christ told us, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) In another word, a full life does not mean living in bounty. Therefore, we are able to determine the fallacy of the Wealth and Health Gospel taught by some preachers. Yet even many within the so-called evangelical churches do not truly understand what a “Bountiful Life” signifies.

 

Christ said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11) This reveals the great sacrificial love of the Son of God that redeemed and saved us, so that our souls will not perish but have the life of God. And once we gain this life, we need to grow and mature into the fullness of Christ’s image so that bountiful life will then be manifested.

 

According to the Gospel of John, Christ twice called to those who are spiritually thirsty to come to Him and receive the living water He bestows. Christ said to the Samaritan woman who was spiritually parched and whose life was a mess, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14) At the Feast of Tabernacles when Jews congregated in large numbers, “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.” (John 7:37-39) Christ said this so that the words of the Prophet Isaiah may be fulfilled: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” (Isaiah 44:3)

 

From the foregoing passages, we see that God really wishes that we will draw life from Him, just as the thirsty will drink water to quench their thirst. God also gladly bestows His life to those who trust and rely on Him. The life of God does not merely refer to eternity in time (meaning eternal life), but also to the quality of life - that Godly character manifested when people are filled and supervised by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when Christ spoke of a full life, He meant our receiving of the Holy Spirit because we believed in Him. We must work with the indwelling Holy Spirit, not follow our own desires and sin, but live according to His guidance and teaching. Then we will bear bountiful fruit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) That is the meaning of a bountiful life in the Bible. Not only that, if we “sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit (we) will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8) God wishes that those of us who have the Holy Spirit will enjoy a full life in this life, and will also be bountiful in eternity.

 

By: Daniel To