In the Judeo Christian worldview, there’s a concept of light and dark, of good and evil. And this worldview emphasizes the importance of believing in a real and actual good God, as opposed to a person-less force of good. It also invites me to embrace a real and actual presence of evil. Jesus calls this presence of evil – this person – “the Enemy”. And when four different authors wrote about the narratives and stories of Christ’s life, one of them named John attributed this statement to Jesus. You can read it in John 10:10…
“The Enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But I come that you might have life, and have it abundantly”.
You don’t have to believe what I believe, but after living over half a century now, I continue to be struck by how much that statement is played out in the real world every day. It just matches my real life experience. And I also believe that there’s nothing metaphorical or symbolic about it – that when Jesus talks about the Enemy wanting to steal, kill, and destroy – that those evil goals are literal. When the Enemy wakes up in the morning, he’s been dreaming all night about how to steal from us, how to kill us, and how to destroy us.
But I smile when I read that last part – the part that says that Jesus has come that we might have LIFE, and have it abundantly. I believe that to be far more than symbolic as well. That there’s real life, and that it comes from the heart and the hand of Christ. Because when we engage with Jesus, we’re engaging with life itself.
WHEN WE ENGAGE WITH JESUS, WE ARE ENGAGING WITH LIFE ITSELF.
And when Jesus engages with us, He’s pouring His very life into us, causing us to come to life. Everything that Christians focus on – grace and forgiveness and redemption and restoration and love and holiness and intimacy and the Kingdom – all of these things are of paramount importance because they are all pieces of the puzzle that is LIFE itself. If you read through the book of John and look for the word “life”, you’ll be amazing at how many times it pops. And that’s because Jesus came to give people that amazing and beautiful gift.
JESUS CAME TO GIVE PEOPLE LIFE.
This life has become, for me, the only hope beyond my wildest dreams and my worst real-life nightmares. The life of Christ sustains me no matter how my uncontrollable circumstances seem to be crumbling down in me and around me. It’s this precise Life that has become that thing that makes me smile and press forward every day and look forward to seeing glimpses of heaven in the here and now, not only in the there and then. I don’t know whether or not this world actually gets better in the short-term, but I do know that there’s abundant life to be discovered and celebrated, even in the middle of this horrific crumbling.
So what’s the Enemy stealing from you these days? Peace? Joy? Health? Contentment? Passion? Trust? Intimacy? Name it and call it what it is. Give it a title, and do the hard soul work of coming to an accurate understanding of the rip-off. Whatever you come up with, I promise that it’s all pointing to that one single word.
We need courage to encounter this Enemy who wants nothing less than to destroy us. And at the heart of it all, if that Enemy wants to steal anything from us at all…