“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” John 10:10
Life lessons have the funniest way of coming to mind. And when children are involved, it can be downright hilarious. One day I had a lot of trash and recycling to take out because it was cleaning day (ha, as if everyday isn’t cleaning day). I couldn’t carry it all so I had to make two trips. First, I took out the trash and placed it in its receptacle. As I came back in the house, standing at the door in some sort of karate position, like she wanted to attack me, was my nine year old (at that time). I believe I just smiled and proceeded to get the recycling. After delivering it to where it belonged, once again, coming back into the house, there was my daughter again, in her homemade-karate-ready-to-attack-mode. I said, “What are you doing?” She responded, “I thought you might be an intruder.” Why she thought that I will never know, but her actions and words, though done and said in fun, really stuck with me.
We have a lot of things, people and circumstances that try to intrude on what Christ has already secured for us. But, how diligent are we to stand against them to protect that “abundant life?” Do we stand at the door, in position, to fight against any who seek to rob us of this joy?
Complacency seems to be the motto for most. Many discuss and debate for change, yet, it is often a road that goes unpaved. Oh, we complain about it. We become filled with rhetoric of the “If it were me . . .” statements. But, do we actually do anything about it? No. We accept things as it is.
The case gets even sadder when we realize our “abundant life” is at stake. Through Christ we have an overflowing promise doled out to us, but it is often picked away by thieves a little at a time until we have nothing left. That same complacent spirit that has invaded the world tries to take over our view of our promise and lulls us into an accepting attitude.
I will tell you this that kind of an attitude will get you robbed over and over again. The only way to stop a thief is to proactively protect what is rightfully yours. 1 Peter 5:8 admonishes us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” The word vigilant screams at us to be on guard!
Both of these verses point out the main thief, the main initiator, the ring-leader of the robbery ring is the devil. Those things, people and circumstances I referred in the opening are often the tools he uses to steal from us. Sometimes we think of how much better my life would be if it weren’t for these things, people and circumstances. A lot of the time that part is not going to change but how we respond makes all the difference in the world.
1 Peter 5:9-10 discusses this. “Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called into his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you!” The word “resist” reinforces the idea of constantly being on guard against the thief and not giving him access to your possessions. While being “steadfast in the faith,” gives us that karate chop of defense. It fortifies us in Him and gives us the endurance to keep on fighting. “Knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren,” opens our eyes to the reality that we are not in this alone. We are not the only ones struggling. Sometimes, that realization alone, gives us the motivation to keep on pushing forth.
Here’s the really beautiful part, “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” Effectively putting you in the position to “stop a thief.” The abundant life is ours, but there are also some who want to steal it. Our job is to “resist” and to remain “steadfast in the faith.” When we do that, it is God who perfects us, establishes us, strengthens us and settles us! Now, that’s the karate chop that will keep intruders at bay!