“. . . I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10 HCSB)
I consider myself a simple person. I like simple things and I’m not particular about very many things. At least, I don’t think I am.
I don’t need the music playing as soon as I get in my vehicle. I don’t have to have the television on unless I’m watching something. I do have to eat gluten and dairy free, but I still enjoy south Louisiana comfort foods like gumbo and jambalaya.
If it were up to me, I would stay in my own little bubble and live happily ever after with no troubles or conflicts.
But, as a Christian (a believer in Christ), am I really living abundantly the way God intended? What does it really mean to live abundantly in Christ?
In John 10, Jesus tells a story. Most people call it a parable because there was always a reason for His stories. He tells us about being the Good Shepherd. That name in itself has a couple meanings to me. “Good” can be translated in Greek “kalos” which means “noble”. We all understand “noble” to mean someone with high morals or high personal qualities, but it can also refer to kings and queens. To me, Jesus embodies both nobility and high ethical values.
Yet, the parable is more than a picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Jesus paints this image of Himself standing at the gate of the sheep pen blocking any danger from entering. Wolves can’t snatch sheep and drag them away. A thief can’t climb over the wall and steal them. What an awesome image of Jesus protecting me from the evil one; protecting me from what the Devil might want to do to me or what he might send my way.
But, there is more. Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15) Jesus and God have a close, devoted, personal relationship. As a believer, I can have the same close, devoted, personal relationship with Jesus. He knows me. He knows me! It’s unbelievable for me to understand that in all the peoples of the world, Jesus still knows me. I’m not a number to Him. I’m a person with a name. I have feelings and fears.
And He died for me.
He didn’t just say He would lay down His life for me. He did lay down His life for me. What am I supposed to do with this knowledge? The answer: hear Him call to me. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep My commands.”
So, to live abundantly, I accepted Him as my Savior and do what He wants me to do. It’s simple. Yet, complicated. Another paradox.
Accepting Christ is easy when you are humble and let go of your ego. But it’s not easy to live a Christ-like life. But, when we rely on Jesus, he will make it easy and that is when we start to live abundantly.
Thank You for being my Savior and keeping me safe from all evil. Thank You for the peace and joy that comes from living abundantly in You. May I always remember.