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In John 10:10, Jesus explains that he came to earth so that we may have life, and have it to the full. Have you ever stopped to mediate on what life “to the full” would look like?
Many of us get caught up in believing that a full life is one free of stress, with plenty of money, perfect health and an abundance of possessions.
I don’t think that is what Jesus had in mind at all, especially considering that John 10:10 was describing the thief who comes to kill, steal and destroy.
Each of us face those types of pressures all the time. People come into our lives to kill our hope, steal our dreams, and destroy our confidence. Or they seek to destroy our relationships, steal our peace, and kill our knowledge of who we really are and why we were created.
Jesus notes these thieves don’t come through the front gate. Often, they enter through some other way.
That’s why we don’t usually encounter those thieves when we’re feeling secure or confident. We are more likely to hear the thieves when we are lonely, worried or depressed.
It might be a snide remark, a comment from a friend or relative, a glance from a boss, someone’s social media post or something we see in the news. Either way, it works like a thief to snatch something we cherish. It turns light into darkness; or sunshine into rain.
We can wake up happy and full of joy. But our enemy won’t allow that because he knows that a person living in security and confidence poses a big threat to his mission to divide and conquer. So, he will try to get us to retreat and sulk about something.
How effective are you at work or at home when you’re sulking or worried? I know I’m not effective at all when I’m in that mindset. It’s hard to see the horizon when you only focus on the clouds.
It’s hard to be excited for the future, when you’re trapped in the present or, worse, in bondage to the past. If the enemy can keep you dwelling on past mistakes, failures, missed opportunities, broken relationships or endless struggles, he has complete, total control of your life.
But Jesus said he came so that we could have life to the full.
That’s a life full of his grace in knowing that regardless of how badly you screwed up, if you bring the situation to him, he will forgive you and restore your peace.
In Luke 4:12, Jesus explains his real mission:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
A life lived “to the full” is one that is void of worry, addictions, toxic relationships, guilt and anxiety.
Living life to the full means having the fruit of the spirit in abundance. That means more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
How do you get that?
By going back to John 10:10 and listening for the voice of the good shepherd – ignoring the screaming accusations, condemnation and lies that seem to easily rise above the noise.
Instead, listen for the still, gentle voice whispering hope, encouragement, forgiveness and peace.
If you really want to make someone’s day, be that voice of hope and encouragement to them. Then, not only are you able to live life to the full, but you might just help someone else to enjoy that fullness as well.