ABUNDANT LIFE OF JOY:
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
Have you ever heard someone say that being a Christian is dull, monotonous or boring? I don’t know where on Earth they would get that idea. (Maybe from movies like Monty Python‘s “Quest for the Holy Grail” where the monks are shown shuffling their feet along chanting depressing funeral dirge type songs and banging their heads with two by four planks – but that‘s not what true Bible Christianity is like). The life of faith can be expressed in an acronym using those five letters F.A.I.T.H. – Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him. If you’ve never trusted your life to Jesus Christ and started following Him, let me warn you – it’s anything BUT boring. It’s not always EASY, but it is EXCITING. I can relate to the Apostle Paul who said, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24).
Let me give you a personal testimony here. When I was in high school, before my personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, I lived the “party life” just like many non-Christian teenagers: I went to bars, got drunk, dated girls, and did all those things that were supposed to be “fun.” Even though that sin was pleasurable for a season, there was no real, deep and lasting joy in that lifestyle. I want to tell you – this is coming from someone who spent the first 18 years of his life in the world, serving Satan and self – that in the last 20+ years since I’ve become a Christian, I’ve had more fun – more joy, and more excitement – than I ever did in the world. IT’S FUN BEING SAVED!
Let’s look at our Bible text here. Who is the thief that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10? It is the devil, and from the beginning of time, that old snake has tried to steal, kill and destroy in the life of every human being who has ever walked the face of the Earth. That’s why the Bible says, “Be careful. Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” (1 Peter 5:7). The devil wants to steal your joy, your peace, and your hope, but you can’t let him. If he does that, he wins. Then he’ll keep you from sharing the love and joy of Jesus with others. So when the devil comes and tries to get you all sad and depressed, do what the Bible says in James 4:7, “Humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice. … Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7).
One more thought here. Even though the Christian life – the abundant life that Jesus has for us – is a life of joy and peace, it doesn’t mean that we’re never going to have any trouble. Jesus Himself said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” In other words, even though trouble will COME in your life, it doesn’t have to OVERCOME you. Make a decision – CHOOSE to be of good cheer, and receive the joy and peace of God in your life.
Pastor Chris Jordan