Life in Christ, Every word Jesus spoke when He was on earth was filled with meaning and application. His words in John 10:10 are no exception.
Christ said in John 10:10: “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.”
Let’s examine this verse for a moment and reflect on its wider application in our lives. Jesus was primarily referring to false religious leaders. Some Pharisees were angry because Jesus had healed a blind man (John 9:13-41). Jesus correctly identified them as spiritual “thieves and robbers” (10:8). By contrast, Jesus is the “door” or “gate” by which His followers have access to spiritual nourishment and eternal life (verse 9). He also is the “good shepherd” of His flock (verse 11).
Behind all the world’s deception is the arch deceiver, thief, murderer and destroyer—Satan the devil. “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Look at 1 Peter 5:8, which describes him as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” and at Revelation 12:9, which labels him as the one “who deceives the whole world.” A lion kills by seeking to devour and a deceiver steals position and truth to lead people astray.
The false ministers are themselves largely deceived and they are deceiving others. They have lost sight of the truth and yet can be quite convincing in their messages.
Look at 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
How does Satan steal, kill and destroy? He acts in so many subtle ways and varied forms that if we are not always aware of his cunning ways, he can indeed cause havoc in our lives and blind us to the very purpose of our existence.
As a thief, Satan can steal our most precious commodity—time spent in prayer and meditation with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and God, our Heavenly Father. He usually does this by keeping some too busy with work and prompting others to constantly seek worldly pleasures, thus denying us the right balance between work and rest. One of Satan’s worst enemies is a man on his knees.
Behind all the world’s deception is the arch deceiver, thief, murderer and destroyer himself—Satan the devil.
Satan also steals time away from our families with the avalanche of gimmicks and gadgets in our homes demanding our attention and keeping us distracted from teachable moments and bonding with our children. If that doesn’t do it, he can steal our ambitions, goals and aspirations to seek all that is good and leave us in a state of depression, despair, gloom and doom. He really is a thief.
As a destroyer, Satan works on us. He destroys loving and caring relationships among individuals, families, communities and countries by breeding competition, greed, selfishness and strife, which lead to evil thoughts and acts of revenge, murder and suicide. He takes pleasure in dividing and conquering and blinding us from knowing the real purpose of why we are born and seeing our potential as created beings in the image of God. He really does go about “seeking whom he may devour.”
As a murderer (John 8:44), he has ended countless lives through abortion, drug abuse and disease. The result has left a multitude of suffering, torment, misery and death. Wars and genocides have been equally devastating to humanity.
These are but a few of the acts that Satan instigates. One could go on to mention hatred, anger, fear, envy, adultery, fornication, idolatry and a host of other deceitful works Satan has up his sleeve. He truly does come “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” By enticing us to sin, he seeks to bring on us the penalty of sin—eternal death.
The good Shepherd
In contrast, God through Jesus Christ offers us so much more—“exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)—both in this present physical life and the spiritual life to come. For God’s desire for us is not for calamity as Satan’s plans are, but to give us a more abundant life now and a hope for the future.
He came to give us rest and rejuvenation from the cares and stresses of daily living. He beckons us to come to Him when we are burdened down with cares and troubles: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…for My yoke is easy and My burden is light”(Matthew 11:28-30). In this harried world, we all need times of quietness and time-out to speak with God and listen to God speak to us through His Word.
He came as well to inspire and encourage us in this world of war and turmoil with His encouraging words in John 16:33, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” It’s easy to become depressed if one focuses too much on the state of today’s world affairs. But He tells us, when we see these things happen, to “lift up [our] heads, because [our] redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).
He also assures us that He will be with us always, even to the end of this age. That means He will always be with us to carry us through life’s storms, to give us peace and encourage us right through the end (John 10:28; Philippians 1:6; 4:13; Hebrews 13:5).
One of Satan’s worst enemies is a man on his knees.
When our Savior went away from this earth, He did not leave us helpless and defenseless in Satan’s world. He sends us the Comforter or Helper in the form of God’s Holy Spirit—a Spirit that results in a life of love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
As we face the end of our physical lives, He tells us not to mourn like those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). For our physical life is merely a preparation for eternity. Over and over in the Gospels, Jesus assures us of eternal life with Him in the Kingdom of God if we overcome Satan and remain faithful to Him to the end (Matthew 24:13).
Jesus Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die [physically], he shall live [receive eternal life]” (John 11:25). This includes the kind of life in which we will possess a glorified spiritual body that will be made and fashioned like Christ (1 John 3:2) and an inheritance that will never fade away reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4).
One could go on to describe the next life as one of blessings, health, prosperity, happiness, fulfillment and purpose.
The kind of life in Christ described above only scratches the surface of what God has in store for those who truly remain faithful to Him. One could go on to describe the next life as one of blessings, health, prosperity, happiness, fulfillment and purpose. Even in this life, Christ’s followers have a wonderful appetizer of those future blessings! He truly did come so that we can have life and have it more abundantly. It is no wonder, then, that the psalmist David was inspired to write, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalms 16:11).
We can take this life of meaning, peace, security and abundance that Christ has to offer, or we can leave it for Satan to rob us of the purpose of our very existence and allow him to shatter our lives into ruin and despair. The choice is ours to make.
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