Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
John 10:9-10, NLT* (emphasis mine)
This is part of Jesus’ “I am the Good Shepherd” message, and it warms my spirit. The King James Version translates the last line as “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, KJV)
Abundant life. Don’t we all want it?
I used to think “abundant life” meant energy, enthusiasm, cheer and a lot of other things. And I used to wonder where mine was, as a Christian.
But those are personality traits—great if they come naturally, but not the fruit of the Spirit.
These past few weeks, I’m beginning to see more clearly that it’s all about our loyal trust in God, and about living, moving, acting and speaking in His strength and not our own.
This is not new material to anyone who’s been a Christian for very long. It’s one of those layered truths, though, where we get it but we don’t really get it all, at least not all at once. The more we apply it, the more we understand and experience it.
In those moments when I live in God’s strength instead of taking all the responsibility on myself, there’s a peace and a freedom from striving and stress. There’s a hint of a rich and satisfying life.
It’s about relying on Jesus, coming and going freely and finding good pastures: pastures He leads us to. Something about knowing this—knowing I really am receiving a rich, satisfying, abundant life—gives me quiet joy.
And hope. Maybe even a bit of what passes for exuberance etc. in my particular personality.
Our God, You are good, and in Your care we are well-Shepherded. Help us to grow in our faith-life, to intentionally rely on Your strength instead of our own. Open our eyes to see Your care and to recognize Your abundant, rich, full-to-overflowing life springing up in our spirits. Make it visible to others, so they’ll want it too.
This week’s song, “Don’t You Think,” by one of my favourite artists, Todd Agnew, is not new to me but I heard something new in it this time. Note the examples of God-followers trying life in their own strength and then trying it God’s way.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.