A Full Life

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

What is a full life anyway?

Is it having a full social roster?  Parties, games, etc?

Is it having relationships with family, friends or acquaintances?

Is it having a house, land or business?

Is it a combination of family, house, a good job and friendships?

Is it being a solidly religious person?

Is it simply knowing God?

What is it that makes for a full life?

Since Jesus said it, we can only assume He must have the answer.

What does John call Jesus?  The Word.  In Revelation John calls Him the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last.  So Jesus is the First and Last Word on everything.

When God created man, one of the first things He did was tell him to be fruitful, multiply and take care of the earth.  Next, He made it clear that was “not good for man to be alone” so God made a helper for him.  There are four different things stated at the very beginning which tell us what our lives are supposed to be about and what God created us to be:  1)  we are to produce  2)  make babies  3)  tend the earth and make it thrive  4)  find companionship.

Yet Jesus went through several more steps which would seem to indicate we must go beyond just our creation instructions.  Matthew 5:1-12 gives us an outline of what our attitude should be as Christians.  Paul’s writings reveal even deeper goals of the human heart and mind. 

My take on all this is a full life must either include all these or some of them.  Certainly everyone is called to take care of the earth to the best of their ability.  Developing good solid relationships keeps us out of trouble and allows us to grow, stay accountable, to love and be loved, which is basic human design.  God is love, therefore His people should conform to this principle.  However, before we go off half-baked, we must understand what love is and what it is not.  These are studies for another time and some that I’ve already addressed in other entries here on this blog.  We must not only understand love as God expresses it but practice it.

A full life for one individual may not mean the exact same combination of these basics for another.  In all our experiences we need the same things to be whole, but we don’t need them in equal quantities.  God created us as parts of a spiritual and social body, as described by Paul.  Our function in this framework is to complete one another and be directed by the head, Christ.  No one person accomplishes or is autonomously the whole, rather each part either contrasts or assists the others.  The point is, in my understanding, to keep us in relationship working together to accomplish the daily routines as well as the higher callings God lays on the church.

Thus a full life is loving others as well as oneself in spiritual proportions, belonging to God above all else, and displaying His character.  I could spend several entries just talking about this subject, but since it will come up through the study of other passages in Scripture, I hardly need to focus on it here.  Suffice it to say, in Christ a full life does not equal simple busyness or happiness, rather it sums up all those things God created us to be in concert with other believers.

Look at the first phrase of our text.  What do you get out of this?  It’s contrast to our subject suggests to me that a spiritual thief is the antithesis of a full life.  In other words, those who enter the spiritual sheep pen without going through Christ will steal our full life away.  The twentieth century saw many different movements but none so telling as the need for personal fulfillment.  This is by no means an accident of sin, though the focus on it is myopic and out of balance.  We were designed to be fulfilled in our desires.  Sin robbed us this by promising the impossible, which means we now move through life with a hole in our souls until we come to Christ.

The spiritual thief wants to rob us of our full life by emphasizing one thing over another.  Jesus tells us that those who enter through Him will teach a full life, set an example of it by their lives and doctrines, and encourage those who follow after Christ to be complete in this way.  The spiritual thief despises either practice as un-spiritual because they are out of balance with the wholeness of God.  We are not all religion; neither are we all love and relationships.  The balance of Christ is a joining of both in a delicate dance that becomes more refined the further we go in our understanding of God.

Don’t let anyone rob you of the adventure God designed for life.  Be holy as He is holy, yet remember that while holiness doesn’t mean austere, it does point to being separated out or set apart for God’s purpose, design and heart.  The thieves will not understand this balance and will fight against it.

For example:  some will teach that the highest spiritual depth is only found in monastic living and the sexual desire is not as spiritual as abstinence.  Others will teach the only way to understand the Godhead relationship is to be married.  Both are extremes; both ignore the balance.  God calls each person into a unique relationship with Him and creation.  Not everyone is called to be married, so there are a few who do well in monastic living.  Very few will find this for mankind was designed in perfection to multiply, which means lots of sex.

As the body has both left and right hands, so the sexes contrast each other while resembling one another in basic make up.  Women complete the intuitive part of humanity as a general rule, though there are plenty of examples of women who displayed scientific logic.  Men complete the analytical side of humanity.  For humans to be whole they need each other for balance.  Cold hard logic is not complete without intuitive emotional reasoning.  It takes both for us to be whole as humans, meaning a full life includes the opposites.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

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