John 10:10 - (Jesus said) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
I'm listening to a commercial today about a new alarm system. They say it works better than any other. They say it is easy to install, easy to use, easy to have monitored, so that your home can be safe when you are gone, safe when you are asleep—safe all the way around. If that could only be true.
Unfortunately, it seems thieves are always one step ahead of our best intentions and inventions. That's what Jesus is getting at today. There are more ominous thieves than those who can break in and steal your stuff. There are thieves who can steal what is more precious than gold, more precious than silver. There are thieves who can steal your heart and soul away from the living God.
Jesus actually talks about that when He says, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Said another way, don't let anyone steal the abundant life that Jesus wants you to have in Him.
Wow! I wonder if anyone thinks about that at all today. I wonder how many take that Word of Jesus to heart. So many are hell-bent on protecting their treasures of material wealth, but are leaving the doors of their souls unlocked or, worse, wide open.
When you live life merely for personal pleasures or worldly gains, your soul is wide open to the tempter. And by the time you realize that, it may be too late to reclaim anything of value. When you work yourselves to death as if you can build a treasure trove of security for retirement, you may be leaving your soul wide open by neglecting your spiritual life.
The obvious tragedy here is that we don't have control today or in retirement. Life has too many ups and downs beyond our control. But even if we had control today—at least in our mind's eye—in the end it's a mirage. Death is this sinful world's constant; it's the last enemy; it's the final bargain we all lose when it comes to living life on our own: the greatest temptation of all.
Jesus talks straight today. He tells us that in the face of death, there is a Way, there is Truth, and there is Life waiting for all who come to Him in repentance and faith (see John 14:6). It's not a bargain; it's not sleight of hand. Jesus earned the right to say this to you and me when He died our death to give us His life. Don't let anyone tell you that there is anything in heaven and earth greater than this offer of life and salvation in Him.
Thieves ... robbers ... or Jesus Christ? When it comes to your soul, He alone is not only abundant protection, He is abundant blessing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me eyes of faith to see the difference of the life You have for me by faith so I might never be tempted to relinquish it to the false promises of another. Amen.
From "Don't Let Anyone or Anything Steal Christ's Life from YOU!" a message by Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. How are you with setting spiritually related priorities? Be honest now.
2. Have you experienced a time when the thief took something from your life? Were you a willing accomplice to any degree?
3. How has God intervened in your life when things looked bleak?
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