John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I think it would be impossible to overstate the importance of the 1st half of John 10. This characterization of the devil is something we need to keep in mind when viewing the world around us, and we also need to remember how Jesus contrasted Himself with the devil. The devil is a master of temptation, appealing to anything at all to get us to deviate from wholehearted devotion to our Creator. However, anything that pulls us away from the God who loves us means loss for us, whatever it looks like in the short term. It is well recognized that the devil uses physical pleasure to tempt us, but sometimes he even uses our higher impulses, like a desire for justice. Many “social justice warriors” today are bringing loss to themselves and to those around them, and even to the very people they claim to fight for, by letting the devil deceive them as to what the situation really is, and thus, what is really just and right. In contrast, Jesus came to make our lives more abundant, in the ways that really count instead of by the standards of this world. It hardly takes much depth of perception to realize how empty the lives are of many of those who are admired by the world and overflow with material things. A life that is centered on Jesus, walking with Him, is abundant beyond the imagination of anyone who rejects the Gospel. The devil lies to us, to the point that much of the world views Christianity as restrictive, keeping us from the “fun stuff,” when in fact the Bible is simply warning us about the poisons and the cliff edges that abound in this life. Keeping this verse firmly in mind can go a long way toward protecting us from the devil’s deceptions.
I quote this verse frequently, because I’ve tasted its reality. I have had non-Christians bring their friends to meet me because “I enjoy living.” At the same time, I have allowed the devil to steal peace and joy from me by being anxious about any of a number of things. I teach God’s truth, but I need to be reminded of it myself! A verse I quote even more often than this one is John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I have found that peace and joy come by the conscious choice to trust God, rather than the world or even my senses or intellect. God is totally, absolutely, trustworthy, but the devil does everything he can to keep me and others from believing that. I am to submit to God and resist the devil, as James tells us. (James 4:7)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Recently the enemy has been trying to steal my peace and joy with various little things. Help me see through his tricks and receive the abundance that You have prepared for me in every area that matters, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!