10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. ~John 10:10
Though Jesus spoke Aramaic as a rule, when he spoke the word “abundantly”—in this passage—he used the Greek word perissón meaning SUPER ABUNDANT, Overflowing to a fault, Superfluous to the point of silliness, MORE THAN COULD EVER BE ENOUGH.
Think of the word “abundantly” as being italicized and in thick dark bold ink in Jesus’ thought bubble.
We can probably all agree that Jesus was speaking of our afterlife, our eternal heavenly life with him in Paradise.
However, I can’t help but believe that he also meant to include our earthly existence as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe for a minute that he was promising every believer a six-figure income, a Maserati or life of ease and comfort. In fact, what he does promise us is the exact opposite when he says, 34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Jesus knew that just being His follower (while here on earth) would bring us trouble, pain, misery and more. As long as we believe in Him we will be fighting against the forces of evil—now doesn’t that sound all superhero-ish?!
Yet, to live a life not lived abundantly—full of joy—is to live a life not worthy of God!
He tells us to be joyful in our every circumstance. That’s not easy, I know! It’s hard to face our hostile work environments, or late mortgage payments, or sick parents, dying marriages and loneliness with joy. No one knows that better than I. However, if we can’t find a way to see an experience hope in God while we’re in that arena with our troubles we
won’t survive the battle. And when I say “we”, I mean our happiness, our spirits our very selves!
Every time we face our obstacles with anything less than HOPE in HIM…we lose a little bit more of us…and a whole lot of Him.
Blocking God from helping us, keeping Him from filling us with Joy every time we’re faced with trouble … lessens Him in our eyes. We make Him smaller and smaller in our reality. And when we keep Him from working in our lives we cage Him in a box with the word “god” written on it–with a little “g”. We make Him less our GOD and more a god…an idol, something to worship only when things are going good. We create for ourselves something to take out of the box and praise only at choir practice and Bible study; only on Sundays, only when others are around.
When we make Him less than who he is in our hearts, we’re only hurting ourselves.
Our God is GOD! He isn’t trapped by our reality. His is all powerful, all knowing, all consuming and yet, He is also compassionate, kind and caring. He is not rude. He would never insert Himself into our lives without invitation. When we shut the door in His face…he’s kind enough not to knock it down. And so, with our pride, our stubbornness and
stupidity…we lock Him out, we cage Him.
Not only do we lessen who He is in our hearts…we tear ourselves down as well. Without hope in Him, without the peace that passes all understanding, without joy in Christ, we become sullen, sad, fading carbon copies of who we are in God’s Grace.
Several years ago—as I lived in the shadow-land of that joyless, hopeless wasteland—a friend said to me, “You’re just not yourself”. I wasn’t. I wasn’t myself, the person God intended me to be. I was sad and depressed and full of anger and turmoil.
Oh, I tried to hide it. I tried to make myself smile and laugh and be who everyone expected me to be…but, they could see through my charade. They could tell my heart was empty. With God caged inside my hidden “god” box…I was so much less than I could be.
There is no way to face your demons and not be frightened, stressed and angry. I won’t lie to you and say there is. Yet, with GOD as your shield and sword…you can’t be defeated. With joy in your heart, with happiness and hope in Him there is no loss you can not bear. Let GOD out of the box you’ve placed Him in. Give Him permission to enter into your reality and be the GOD He is!
- Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- James 1:2-3
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
- Nehemiah 8:10b
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.“