A life worth living
A life worth living, a life of victory, a blessed life, a meaningful life, an abundant life, such a life is not one that is lived merely "under the sun".
A person who enjoys the abundant life, who reigns in life (regardless of the circumstances in the world), is a person who has an "above the sun" perspective of life.
He sees the Big Picture. He has a keen awareness of eternity. He understands God's heart. He thinks with a Kingdom mindset. His eyes are on the Heavenly Father and not on the earthly things. As a result, he can live the care-free, worry-free life, complain-free life, which is the abundant life, the reigning life.
This is the kind of abundant, victorious, reigning life that the apostle Paul lived.
Now, let us explore further the kind of abundant, victorious, reigning life that Paul lived:
The abundant and reigning life that Paul lived
1) Did Paul experience material lack from time to time?
But did he struggle with any bitter sense of poverty? No at all.
Paul having tasted the goodness of His God, maintained a sense of abundance, of 'no lack', of being provided for, of being looked after.
In fact, it was during his captivity in prison that he encouraged the believers in Philippians with the following words, "Indeed I have all and abound, I am full, having received...the things sent from you, a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:18-19).
Even in prison, Paul's dignity remained intact, and he continued to enjoy contentment. It was in this context that he uttered the verse that we all love to quote, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".
"I've learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)
Paul was truly reigning in and enjoying his life.
For more thoughts on prosperity and abundance in a believer's life, read my other post Taste and see your Good God today
2) Did Paul encounter trials, tribulations and persecutions from time to time?
Yes. Numerious, varied and severe.
But did he exhibit a defeatist attitude and suffer from any sense of abandonment? No.
It was Paul who wrote, "If God is for us, who can be against us?...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?...Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Rom 8:31,35,37).
I believed Paul must have enjoyed many peaceful and trouble-free days when he walked on earth, and he must have celebrated many successes and triumphs.
And during those times that he had to deal with difficulties, challenges, and apparent defeats, he did not allow his joy to be affected. He was still conscious of the Christ-wrought victory that avails forever. He still maintained the overcomer's mindset.
Therefore Paul continued to reign over circumstances and to enjoy the abundant life, even in the midst of all the trials and tribulations.
Did Paul struggle? I believe he did. But I also believe he did not focus on himself and endured the experiences as sufferings in the cold hostility of an absurd world. Instead, he focused on Christ and enjoyed the experiences as snugglings in the loving arms of a Very Good God.
3) Did Paul have to face the prospect of death, and did he experience physical death ultimately?
But was he anxious or fearful. No.
It was Paul who proclaimed, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory. The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 15:55-56).
What boldness! What a victorious attitude!
When one has the assurance of eternal life, and is secure in one's right standing before God, physical death no longer stirs up dread or fear. Death's sting has been removed. Death is no longer a tragedy.
No wonder Paul could declare, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labour...for I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you" (Philippians 1:21-24).
Paul was genuinely not afraid to die. As a result, he was truly ready to live, freely and boldly. Which he did. Paul lived life abundantly and victoriously.
The abundant life comprises challenging days and not-so-challenging ones
Do bear this in mind that the New Testament epistles recorded and presented to us only the more eventful parts of Paul's life. I am sure Paul's life was not just a constant series of trials, tribulations and persecutions. He must have enjoyed many trouble-free days as well.
What makes me conclude that Paul lived an abundant and victorious life is not his health or wealth, or how peaceful and trouble free his life was. Such blessings are purchased on the Cross for us, and we should rightly appropriate them and enjoy them. But they are not the most important blessings.
What makes me conclude that Paul lived life abundantly and victoriously is the way he continued to enjoy righteousness, peace and joy regardless of the circumstances he was in.
Living life "above the sun" - living in the Kingdom of God
Jesus taught us that "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit". (Rom 14:17)
It was also Jesus Himself who taught us to seek first the kingdom of God, instead of focusing on the things we need, for our Heavenly Father knows all our needs and wants, and He freely and generously gives to us all that is good for us, in His good time. (Mt 6:33)
Jesus also assured us that it is the Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom. (Luke 12:32). It is God's pleasure to see you enjoy a life of righteousness, peace and joy - a life without fear of lack, a life of true freedom.
So, in closing, be encouraged to focus on the goodness of your Father's heart, and rest in the knowledge that He will not withhold any good thing from you. If He has given you His best, His most precious, His Son Jesus Christ, how will He not with Jesus, also freely give you all things?
The abundant and victorious life that Paul lived was purchased by Jesus Christ on the Cross. The same Jesus has also purchased an abundant and victorious life for you and your loved ones.
Do the one thing needful.
Seek first the Kingdom of God.
Sit at Jesus feet and allow Him to love you.
Allow your heart to rest in the finished work of Christ.
Let your soul prosper in the knowledge of God's grace towards you.
"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers". (3 John 2).
As your soul continues to prosper, may you continue to reign in life and enjoy life more abundantly.