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. (John 10:10, NKJV)
In today’s reading, we read about something I think we all know, yet don’t live like we know it.
In Old Testament times, there was a feeling (and a teaching) that if you succeeded, or prospered, or were fruitful, it was because you or your ancestors had done something good to earn God’s favor. Conversely, if things didn’t go right… if you were the victim of a crime or afflicted with a disease or illness, it was because you or your ancestor had done something to tick God off.
As Outflow says,
“An amazing number of people who are sincerely trying to follow Christ’s teachings are unconsciously operating from ideas that have more in common with (this) teaching than anything Jesus taught. When you assume everything that’s wrong with your life is your own fault — or society’s, your parents’, or even an ex-spouse’s fault — or when you assume that to get God’s blessings, you have to be perfect — then you’re missing the point of what Jesus is saying in John 10:10. Jesus is very clear that there’s more to it than that. For one thing, there’s a supernatural thief doing everything he can think of to steal, kill, and utterly destroy the flow of blessings God intends for your life.”
You’ve heard this thief. He talks to you (and me) constantly. He says things like,
“You idiot. You know better than that.”
“You don’t really fit in here.”
“If you were more like your brother, you’d be more successful.”
“That co-worker is out to get you.”
“My wife just doesn’t understand me.”
As Outflow says, “This thief is subtle, devious, and brutal in his never-ending quest to rob you of every drop of whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy in your life. (Philippians 4:8)”
But this isn’t what Jesus came to give us. He came to give us abundant life – see a thesaurus: copious, ample, rich, lavish, generous, plentiful, bounteous, overflowing, and large).
Livin’ large! That’s what I want! How ’bout you!?!
Who are you listening to?