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 quote this verse so frequently that it’s one of the few I am completely confident of chapter and verse. That said, I am usually quoting either the first half or the last, and seldom the whole thing. The first half is a very concise and useful description of the devil that’s important to keep in mind when he offers his various enticements. They all seem attractive in some way at first, but their purpose is exactly as Jesus says here: to to steal what is good from us, to kill what is good in us, and as much as possible to destroy God’s plans for us, which are the very definition of good. The second half is Jesus’ very succinct description of His own ministry, and that can take a lifetime to unpack. In the first place, Jesus came to bring life. As He said several times in various ways, He Himself is eternal life. (John 14:6, etc.) As the clever t-shirt says, “No Jesus, no life. Know Jesus, know life.” John was sharply aware of this, because his own brother was the first of the apostles to be martyred, (Acts 12:2) but he himself, though he endured great hardship and persecution, was the only one of the original 12 to die what is considered a natural death. He had tasted the reality that Jesus isn’t stingy with Himself, but gives life abundantly to all who will receive it. One of our problems in receiving all that God wants to give us is our definition of abundance. We tend to tie it to material goods, and at the least to our own appetites. This has led to the “name it and claim it” school of theology, which is mistaken because it makes man the standard, instead of being totally focused on God’s kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) Some people have been so deceived by that sort of thing that when it collapses they lose their faith in God to a very deep level, which betrays where it came from in the first place. A chorus from over 45 years ago said, “I want more of Jesus, more and more and more. I want more of Jesus than I ever had before. I want more of His great love, so rich and full and free. I want more of Jesus, and He wants more of me.” My father modified the last line of that to say, “so I’ll give Him more of me.” To receive the abundant life that God has provided for us in Christ, we need to let go of everything else. Jesus taught that, (Matthew 13:44-46) but we don’t like to hear it.
If I just quote this verse and fail to apply it in my own life, I’m just deceiving myself. (James 1:22) I have seen countless examples of the devil stealing, killing, and destroying, and I have also tasted the abundant life that is Jesus Himself. There’s no comparison, when it comes to value! This is why my life is dedicated to warning people about the devil and sharing with them the abundance that is Christ. I am almost constantly amazed at the depth of God’s grace and love for me, even when I’m in the middle things like the 3-week cold I’m finally recovering from. I may feel miserable, but God is still good! Last night Cathy tripped in her work room and fell heavily. I set a new record for getting from my study up the stairs to check on her! She has bruises and strains, but nothing broken, and yet again I am reminded that God’s grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) That in no way contradicts what Jesus says here about abundance, but is a demonstration of how God desires to get us through the troubles we experience in our time on this fallen world. As Jesus said, I need to rejoice! (John 16:33)
Father, thank You for this reminder. I really have no words to thank You sufficiently for the magnificence of Your grace toward me. Help me live out my life in gratitude and obedience, so that as many as possible may know You through me, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!