Part 3: Life to the Full

Most of my thoughts lately have been on this passage in John 10. There is another statement in this passage that may completely revolutionize the way I see my walk with God.

In verse 10 Jesus says:

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

That concept of “life to the full” or “the abundant life” is common in most church circles. Most often it’s interpreted that God will give us a fantastic, amazing life. That everything will be awesome and full of joy. That’s what I always thought about it, too. If good things aren’t happening, I must be doing something wrong.

But how does that interpretation stand up when Jesus says that blessed are those that are persecuted in his name? Or when he says that we will face hardship and persecution?

Most anyone who has walked a few years in this life has experienced it’s ups and downs. There are good days and bad days; wonderful seasons, and painful seasons.

Pain and sorrow are just a part of this sinful world. Some of our pain is consequence for our actions. Some of it is allowed by God so we will let go of our lives. In all of it, God will make his name known.

Somehow those answers to my pain weren’t enough. I felt like I was being punished, or missing a lesson. Then recently, at lunch with a friend, the a new idea emerged; what if the pain we experience is just a part of this “full life” that Jesus promises?

If life without Christ has ups and downs, why would it change to a life full of just ups? Wouldn’t that be the “half full” life? We would be missing out on a completely different experience. It is those down moments that make the highs so beautiful. Peaks wouldn’t be nearly as majestic if there were no valleys.

Life before Christ is full of ups and downs, once you begin walking with Jesus, those ups and downs become more dramatic. This life with Jesus allows for much greater joy than I’ve ever experienced without him. The ups in my life are much, much bigger. On the flip-side, the downs are much lower. I’ve experienced some of my most painful seasons while being a follower of Jesus.

What if “life to the full” means that at the peaks, we are capable of so much more joy, and conversely, in the valleys, much deeper sorrow? Higher highs, lower lows and more dynamic in between sounds like a full life and a richer experience to me.

What do you think?


~ by mitchbolton on September 27, 2008.

3 Responses to “Part 3: Life to the Full”

  1. full….of him….
    regardless of circumstance…
    an inner completeness….
    that has already happened, 2000 years ago…
    but we often forget.

  2. Wow…. That makes so much sense. I never thought of it that way. Thanks you.

  3. I was doing some searches to try and confirm what God has opened my eyes to on this verse and you have done it. I have been looking at theis verse for a very long time and always asked God where that abundant life was because my life was full of suffering.

    Here lately, I received that answer. When He said abundant, he meant abundantly full of joy and abundantly full of suffering. You can’t have one without the other because they compliment one another. If you didn’t know what joy was, you wouldn’t understand suffering and vice versa.

    Si He gives a life abundant of both, that we may share in His suffering and share in His joy! Thank you for your blog.

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