What does the abundant life look like? Part 1

April 2, 2011

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10)   The way I learned it, with The New American Standard translation, it reads like this, ““The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Either way, Jesus is saying that destruction, theft, murder, in other words, evil, comes from the thief, not from God.  I learned quite early in life to not blame God for the bad things that happen, but I still hear otherwise intelligent people saying things like, “Why is God doing this to me?!”  The simple answer is, he doesn’t.

Often calamities are brought about by our own mistakes, sins and stupidities.  Many times, for believers, they are the direct result of the fact that there is a war raging over us.  The enemy takes shots at us and we are sometimes wounded.  Never destroyed.

I was going to wax eloquent about this passage, but I think Paul wrote an excellent commentary in II Corinthians, that sheds a great light on the first part of John 10:10.

7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

11For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

12So death works in us, but life in you.

13But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

15For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

17For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  (II Corinthians 4:7-18)

So the first thing I notice about the abundant life is this:  we have an abundance of Grace to uphold us when we are afflicted by the enemy.  Abundance does not mean an absence of trouble, just the opposite seems to be true.  But our momentary light afflictions give room to receive Grace and all its blessings.

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