What does abundance look like? | Northlands Church
Northlands Church

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What does abundance look like?

by: Jennifer Schmidt

Abundance isn’t just surviving or sustaining; to experience abundance is to flourish (whether in internal or external conditions). Abundance looks like overgrowth.

I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast. You will be satisfied with a full life and with all that I do for you! For you will enjoy the fullness of my salvation! Psalm 91:15-16

On a spectrum of provision, you find meagerness on one end and abundance on the opposite. Recently I saw three pictures that helped me envision what this spectrum of abundance looks like in everyday life. The first picture was of a wilted potted plant, barely alive. This plant represents meager provision—just enough to survive, but not enough to thrive. The second picture was of a healthy, growing potted plant. The healthy plant represents a level of sustaining provision—consistently getting what it needs to maintain health and achieve incremental growth. The third plant was giant, absolutely too big for a pot, and so big it was actually a bush! If abundance is defined as an over-sufficient supply, then abundance looks like overgrowth!

Let’s take a deeper look at what meager, sustaining, and abundant provision entail. The better we understand this spectrum, the more clearly we can see our areas of lack and abundance (whether internally or circumstantially). This awareness enables us to respond in praise and prayer with greater expectation for our true inheritance of abundance. We will no longer expect or settle for less than Jesus purchased for us.

MEAGER PROVISION:
Meager provision allows us to simply survive. In my life, meagerness looked like insecurity, or believing that people tolerate me but don’t truly desire and delight in me. I have carried this lack of security into every one of my friendships and relationships since I was a young girl. It’s a heavy lie to carry around. It damaged relationships as well as my own self-esteem and confidence.

Meagerness for me has also looked like shame. I believed I had just enough grace to be counted as his daughter, but one God was disappointed with rather than delighted in. My lack of perfect performance throughout my life, leading to painful life choices, reinforced what I believed was meager acceptance by God. Shame diminishes us, causing us to shrink back and agree with the lie that we have been given just enough grace to secure our eternity but not enough to prosper in this life.

Meagerness for me during the darkest season of my story has looked like just barely enough hope to get from one day to the next, but not enough for a bright, fulfilling future. What keeps us living meager lives, simply surviving and never thriving?

  • A lack of security and diminished sense of our true identity
  • A lack of awareness about the boundless grace of God towards us
  • A lack of hope for a bright future

We were made for more than meager. This is not our portion, our rightful inheritance. Meagerness is inconsistent with the infinite nature of God. While we may find ourselves experiencing meagerness in certain areas during certain seasons, this is not a place where we expect to stay. There is MORE for us! In our deepest hearts, we know this and hunger for more. We desire freedom from meagerness and the lies around our lack. Deep down we want to thrive, abounding in joy, hope, confidence, or any other manner of provision.

SUSTAINING PROVISION:
Provision that sustains is much like the manna God provided the Hebrews each day as they wandered through the desert. They had what they needed for the day, but it wouldn’t keep if stored up for future need. They lived trusting for just enough from the Lord each day. We celebrate these “manna miracles” of just enough, as we rightly should! We get a check in the mail that is just enough to pay a bill. Or a lateral job change that is exciting because it’s new, but it doesn’t advance us in our gifts. We are given just enough patience to get through each day of raising a strong-willed child. We celebrate these blessings, and yet we start each day with a new need requiring more manna.
A lifestyle of living sustained is totally doable, but it’s not glorious. It can feel frustrating or exhausting after a while. The Hebrews began to complain because they KNEW they were made for more and were journeying towards a land with an abundance of milk and honey. A lifestyle of being simply sustained was not their promised future.

ABUNDANT PROVISION:
Abundance looks like that flourishing bush; it looks like overgrowth. Abundant provision is “extremely plentiful, overflowing fullness.” It looks like a life that abounds with beauty and glory. It has the “awe and wonder” factor.

Abundance inspires, which is exactly why God’s plan for your life is to model the riches of HIS glory through abundant provision in your life. Aren’t you inspired by the grandmother who abounded in kindness, with never a harsh word about anyone? God’s plan for your life and mine is that we are living object lessons, demonstrating the fullness of salvation through Christ.

Testimonies of abundant provision, like a financial increase that erases all debt, or healing that leaves the body better than it was before, inspire us to see God in a new light. It is the “too good to be true,” “immeasurably more” testimonies that leave us in awe and shift our perspectives and our expectations. This is what God wants to do in and through your life!

Psalm 91:15-16 (TPT) says, “I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast. You will be satisfied with a full life and with all that I do for you! For you will enjoy the fullness of my salvation!” I don’t know about you, but I spent 20 years of my Christian journey not aware of or enjoying the fullness of my salvation. I simply didn’t know. I wasn’t aware that abundance was my portion. I expected meagerness in some areas because I thought it’s what I deserved because of my sins. I have expected sustaining provision in many areas of my life or in the fruit of the Spirit—always enough but never a surplus—because I thought that daily desperation for provision was somehow more holy and humble. But while I celebrate the manna, like the Israelites, I realize I am journeying towards the Promised Land and a lifestyle of abundance. Don’t despise the manna, but know that your inheritance is milk and honey, friends!

God wants us to enjoy the fullness of our salvation. Lack, bondage, and all forms of limitation are in direct opposition to the provision, freedom, and fullness that our glorious hero, Jesus Christ, secured our access to when He defeated the grave and ascended to His throne in the heavenlies. Feast, not famine, is our rightful inheritance as children of God. This is what abundance looks like.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your abiding presence. Whether I am lacking in one area or overflowing in another, it is your presence that is my joy and hope through it all. Jesus, show me areas in my life where I have settled for meagerness, thinking I only deserve just enough grace, love, or hope to survive, when in fact you want to overflow in those areas. Jesus, I praise you for every miraculous provision that you have given me. You are my way-maker, bringing growth and goodness in the midst of every circumstance. Lord, lift my expectations today to agree with your promise of overflow so that I may enjoy the fullness of my salvation, abounding in every way to the credit and glory of your glorious name. I want to walk in an overflow of patience, peace, and confidence so that all around me may see and know the ever-increasing glory of a life hidden in you.