The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
“Why would you do that to yourself?” It’s easy to see self-destructive behavior in others. When someone abuses chemicals, eats themselves into obesity, gambles away their life savings, explodes in anger, or pursues a disastrous relationship, we look on and wonder why he or she would do such a thing. “How could you be so stupid?” It would seem logical that if something makes us miserable, that we would abandon it. It is our nature however, to pursue those things that, while providing instant gratification, make us miserable in the end.
As I said, it’s easy to see poor choices in the lives of those around us. When we do it though, it’s different. We have our justifications. Often, we lie to ourselves. It’s far easier to blame others for our trials than it is to see that we make ourselves miserable. If we’re responsible, then we must change, and change is painful.
If we truly want to know the abundant life that we’re created for though, change is exactly what we must embrace. In today’s passage, Jesus used the metaphor of sheep entering the good life of his pasture. He said that he was the door and that any sheep who wanted in, must go through him. He insisted that anything or anyone that we put before him is a thief, bringing only death and destruction.
This is our choice then, the thief or Christ. We either follow our own vain, futile efforts at pursuing gratification – which leads only to misery and death in the end – or we turn to Christ, who leads us into the abundant life.
Following Christ, entering the door to life, isn’t just a belief or thought we accept once in our minds. This is a daily, willful choice to leave the misery of the old life, embracing the joy and peace of the new one. It is quite possible to believe in God in our minds, while clinging to those things that cause us misery with our actions.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Authentic life, peace, and recovery are waiting for us. If we would experience them, then daily, we must abandon those things that cause us misery, embracing the abundant life found only in Christ.