“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
In Chapter 10 of the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us about the sheep that are taken care of by the Good Shepherd who loves them, and is even willing to lay down his life in order to protect them. Jesus also warns that the individuals who come in any way other than the gate, or whose voice the sheep do not recognize are nothing more than bandits, robbers, thieves, and murderers. Jesus then tells us that he is the Good Shepherd.
As I consider this passage at the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, I am reminded of all of the things that would take my focus off of Christ and his sacrifice for you and me. Life is busy and complex and there never seems to be enough time to do the things I wish I could accomplish in any given week. I hear these voices challenging me to lay aside my devotional life in order to accomplish more.
“What would it hurt if I didn’t spend that time in prayer, or pull out my bible to read about Jesus’ actions on our behalf? Or, what if, instead of participating in worship with others, I take care of a few of those things on my to do list? Or, what if I don’t volunteer this week? What would be the harm in any of that, as there’s always next week?”
Often times when we think of the danger that Jesus is speaking of in this passage, we believe that the danger comes from those who do not seek our best. But might it be that, in a very real sense, some of the danger of being led astray comes from our own insecurity that challenges us to attempt more without developing a stronger relationship with Christ. After all, it is Christ who is willing to surround us and support us through the trials and dangers of life, not our own insecurity. Instead, our insecurity is nothing more than a robber, thief, or bandit that is whittling away at the abundant life Christ would wish for all of us.
If we are not grounding our lives in Christ through prayer, study, worship, and loving actions towards others, then we are robbing ourselves of the Abundant Life Christ came for us to experience.
How might we go about experiencing this Abundant Life? First, we begin by not listening to our own insecure voices that tell us we are not good enough or have not accomplished enough. We then turn these fears over to Christ and accept the grace he has given us to become who we were created to be. Through that process we pray for Christ’s guidance on what we are to truly make the main thing of our lives. And often times we discover that Christ’s Abundant Life for us is much simpler than the busy and hectic life we had planned for ourselves.
Praying for your Abundance through Christ,
Rev. John Embrey