”Stir crazy” is a phrase used a lot these days. Understandably, and sadly, many feel very isolated, even from family and friends. While circumstances vary, all of us can say that our ”normal” has been very disrupted. I won’t dwell on this point but remember just a few weeks ago, when we had never heard of a corona virus?
Seemingly absent from today’s typical conversation is the idea of having fullness of life, yet that’s exactly what Jesus wants for us. Even in these times and conditions. While many have lost so much, we may find that we have been given a great opportunity to see differently.
In John 10:10, Jesus specifically tells us, “I have come so that (you) may have life and have it in abundance”. Did you see that? Abundant life! How amazing to think about. But does this describe you?
Now, make no mistake: this does not describe, as some of the prosperity gospel may say, having ”your best life now”. There will be trials. There will be difficulties. Christians get sick. Christians die. Christians may still have financial troubles. Christians suffer many of the same hardships that unbelievers do. And, we can count on the fact that, if we’re living for Jesus, there will be persecution.
But there’s nothing routine about living a Christ-like life. We should not confuse the presence of difficulties with an absence of abundant life.
Let’s keep in mind the context of this scripture. The first six verses of the chapter describes Jesus’ relationship with Christians, whom He describes as sheep. Verses 7-10 describe Jesus’ provisions for His sheep. Specifically, He uses the metaphor that He is the Good Shepherd and the Gate and only those who come to Him may find pasture. He is the protector and provider of all that is good. We see throughout the scriptures that the Lord leads His people beside still waters, providing for all of their needs, even while allowing circumstances to remind His people to depend on Him. Jesus offers not only life, but abundant life.
God created us to experience a life better than we could possibly imagine, a “rich and satisfying life” (NLT). The 2nd century Christian theologian, Irenaeus, taught, “the glory of God is a man fully alive”. And, while God’s glory is certainly more than that expressed by man, his point is that as God’s only image bearer, we have the potential to be filled with God’s glory such that it radiates through us and from us, leavIng us full and lacking nothing.
When we submit our lives to Christ – when we are in Christ – we may have life in the fullest. Of course, this is true of the eternity we will spend with Him in heaven, but even today, we may experience His love, His joy, His peace, and fullness of life in Christ because we are filled by His Spirit. This promise is echoed in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.
He really does want us to be fully alive, abundantly alive, filled with His Spirit and participating in the overflow of love of the Triune God. We don’t have to go stir crazy; rather, I pray these crazy times provide the opportunity to focus our attention on things above. Perhaps we will be stirred to dwell on Jesus’ words, “I have come so that (you) may have life and have it in abundance”.