We all want a full and abundant life, but we don’t all agree on what that means or how to achieve it.
For some, the full and abundant life that they seek is a life full of stuff — nice new car every year; a big house with extra rooms that are never use, maybe even an extra vacation house or two; fancy furniture in all those houses; new clothes and expensive jewelry; traveling all over the world; caviar, wine, and gourmet food to eat and drink every day; and “money to burn” as they say.
For others, a full and abundant life means being physically fit and active — eating only healthy foods and taking supplements to boost energy and strength; hiking in the woods; biking to and from work or mountain biking on the weekends; spending hours each week on the treadmill or at the gym; lifting weights and body building; being strong, athletic, and always on the go.
For yet others, the full and abundant life is one big party — drinking alcohol to excess; staying up all night and sleeping all day; doing drugs; gambling and raising hell; and having sex with whomever they want whenever they want.
But for the Christian, the full and abundant life is so much more, and yet so much less. Jesus promised the full and abundant life to His disciples and to us. I want to share several translations of what He said in 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. (NIV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NASB)
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (NLV)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (NKJV)
A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness. (NCV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they can have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way. (NIRV)
A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came so that my sheep will have life and so that they will have everything they need. (GWT)
I like the last one, the God’s Word Translation, because it indicates what is important: life and having what we need. The full and abundant life that Jesus promised to those who follow Him is not one filled with stuff and more stuff. It is not about having all that money can buy. It’s not about excessive physical fitness through our own efforts. It’s not about an endless drunken party.
The full and abundant Christian life is about having eternal life through Christ, having what we need (which is far different from what we want), having a relationship with God and other believers, and being content with the richness and fullness of living according to God’s Word. This is what Jesus wants for His sheep – fullness, abundance, “a rich and satisfying life.”
The thief, on the other hand, comes to destroy our full and abundant life. He lures people away from the safety and abundance of the sheep pen with the promise of more than what we need, of “money to burn,” and power beyond our wildest dreams. The thief promises feeling good and having endless fun. In the short term, what the thief promises seems good, but it is a con job of major spiritual proportions. Reliance on money and things is an illusion, because they can fail us in the blink of an eye. Riches cannot buy a full and abundant life. Reliance on our own fitness and strength is an illusion, because illness or accident can strike even the seemingly healthiest person in a flash. And the consequences of the endless party are inevitable and extremely painful.
The price for our full and abundant life has already been paid. The price was paid by the Good Shepherd when He laid down His life for us. The full and abundant life in Christ can be yours regardless of your current financial circumstances, your current health and fitness status, or the partying path you have been heading down.
[Jesus said,] “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33.
Are you longing for a full and abundant life? Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow. He will lead you in a life that is more rich and satisfying than anything this world has to offer.