Hi everyone, Rob here. Lately I’ve been pondering a statement of Jesus that we like to quote often in this blog; “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).” Now, most of the time I do not feel like I have life in all it’s fullness! Most of the time I feel like I am managing life in a way that minimises disappointment and maximises comfort. A lot of the time I am in a mode of self-protection rather than self-giving and as I work and observe life I realise that I’m not alone. We live this way as a defence against pain. But it also acts as a defence aginst joy and ‘life in all its fullness.’
A few days ago I got home from work and noticed a big bandage on Jake’s (my year old son) big toe. “What happened Jake?”, I asked. His face lit up in a huge grin as he described the ‘biggest skid’ that he’d done on his bike AND there was smoke as well! Sure, he’d also run over his toe and removed a rather large piece of skin, but the pain, and there was real pain, was irrelevant compared to the joy of the achievement of a mighty bike skid witnessed by family and friends!
There’s a lesson for me and us here. Jesus is not promising us a ‘safe’ life, but a full life if we would choose to follow him. He is the ‘good shepherd’ but that means dealing with the wild beasts, the rough terrain and the thief of all thieves. We don’t follow Jesus by hiding in a cave and setting up house there, but by moving with him into open country and giving him the opportunity to fight for us and training us to fight with him. “Life in all its fullness” only comes when the obstacles to that life are removed! The devil, the flesh and the world must all be overcome by the power of Christ. That may sound like a lot of effort, but the victory is already his and so we must simply walk with him. If we stay close and allow his life to flow through our life, then we will share in his authority, his victory, his life and his joy.
So this year I am stepping out of the cave more frequently. I am accepting the invitation of Jesus to join him in open country. I will lead a men’s retreat; I will present the good news of Jesus to teenagers; I will re-enter the world of Masters study; I will preach more boldly and ask harder questions. I will pursue the hearts of my wife and children, so help me God. Caves are dark and dull. My heart yearns for the road less travelled by; the road forged by our ‘Good Shepherd.’ And so I pray:
Jesus, I want the life that you offer; your life in me. Fill me with your life. Jesus, I choose to follow you. Lead me by your Spirit. Teach me how to fight our enemies with your strength and power. Teach me how to love with your love. Fill me with your love; for the Father, for people, for my own heart. I bow my knee before you and simply ask that my life would bring you honour and would help fulfill your mission, for the sake of Christ. Amen.