There are many in the Christian culture who have fallen prey to a key misunderstanding.

It has to do with abundance. The specific scripture to look to for clarification is John 10:10.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (NKJV)

I’ve italicized the word “IT” because that will help us see the difference between the common misinterpretation and the truth.

The misinterpretation is that we are promised an abundance of “things” in this life. This is the basis of much of what is called “prosperity preaching.” That is not what has been promised by scripture. The real promise is infinitely more valuable than that.

What does the word “IT” refer in this verse? Life, not things. To have life in abundance far surpasses wealth in material terms.

There is a very dangerous consequence that comes from the popular misinterpretation. To believe we are promised material prosperity, rather than prosperity of the soul, misleads in two ways. A focus on attaining the wrong promise leads to the wrong conclusion about how to live your life.

Not knowing that abundance of LIFE is the promise makes it easy to fall for focusing on the “world” of the the here and now. That makes it easy to forget that your real purpose to fulfill God’s plan for your life, which includes the eternal outcome.

Another consequence is the inevitable disappointment that comes from having unrealistic expectations. I wonder how many people have turned their backs on God because He didn’t fulfill a promise He never made?

I know of one person, who is no longer with us, that claimed that God was obligated to provide whatever he prayed for. Sadly, he never came to understand that the promise was about eternal life, not just “things.”