“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
This verse does two things: 1) It reminds me that I am in a spiritual battle and what the mission of my enemy is – this is important because it is easy to forget that there is a war being waged in the spiritual realm. 2) It reminds me why Jesus stepped out of heaven and what He wants for my life.
Regarding #1 – One of the best ways to combat the devil’s schemes is to understand his battlefield tactics. This is the reason that C.S. Lewis wrote his classic book The Screwtape Letters. The Screwtape Letters comprises thirty-one letters written by a senior demon named Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood (named after a star in Revelation), a younger and less experienced demon, who is charged with guiding a man toward “Our Father Below” (Devil/Satan) and away from “the Enemy” (God). Here are a few quotes from Screwtape that give some insight into the enemy’s strategy…
- “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
- “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”
- “The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
- “(God) wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”
- “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
We must never forget that the enemy of our souls is a thief and a liar and a killer who wants to deceive, distract, discourage, and destroy us.
Regarding #2 – Because of my sin I was facing a dark eternal death. But Jesus came that I might have Life. And not just any kind of life but an abundant life. So, what does it mean to live abundantly?
First of all, Jesus is NOT promising a life of wealth and prosperity for believers. He is promising life that is truly life – a life that overflows with joy and gladness and purpose and hope. He is promising a life that is worth living, a life that is God-honoring, a life that is filled with promise and fueled daily by the presence of God. This passage in John 10 where Jesus calls Himself The Good Shepherd is reminiscent of Ezekiel 34 and what the Lord had to say about Israel, His flock:
“12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak…”
Rescue! Pasture! Tend! Feed! Bind up! Strengthen!
Jesus came to give us life. Life that we don’t deserve but that by His glorious grace He gives us anyway. What a Savior!