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  • Mary Lynn Tolar

Life More Abundantly

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10


“It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing – Life forevermore.” Psalm 133:3


 

John 10:10 is often recited in teachings about our spiritual enemy and his intents, but there is much more depth to the verse. It is included in Jesus’ teaching about the Good Shepherd, who knows His own and cares for them like a shepherd who cares for, provides for, and protects the sheep. This Good Shepherd, Jesus, intends good things for His flock. He has made a way for us to be alive with Him forever, but He has also prepared abundant blessings for life on earth.


A study of Deuteronomy Chapters 26-30 explicitly details the Lord’s good intentions to abundantly bless His covenant people. As Moses prepared the Israelites with God’s instructions for the role of leadership being handed over to Joshua to cross the Jordan and begin taking the Promised Land, God had the Israelites renew the covenant the Lord had made with them through Moses at Horeb. Then, He taught them about their prosperity and blessing when they obeyed and the curses they would come under for disobedience. To emphasize the distinction, He separated the 12 tribes to either side of the priests holding the ark. The tribes faced either Mt. Gerizim and proclaimed blessings or faced Mt. Ebal and proclaimed the curses that would come upon them. (Joshua 8:33) This was a very serious assembly before the Lord.


In Deuteronomy 28:3-6 (NKJV), we find a familiar prayer of blessing, “You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock - the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flock. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” Now, that’s abundant favor! The chapter continues with more ways the Lord will provide abundance, including Deuteronomy 28 12 (NKJV), “The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouses of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season, and to bless all the works of your hands.”


If the Lord intends this kind of abundance for us, then why do we not see it in our lives? We must look at our obedience and disobedience. Our new covenant with the Lord through the unblemished lamb, Jesus, at the cross provides a protective covering of the blood of Christ. But like the Israelites in the promised land, our unrepented sin carries us out of that protection and blessing and into the enemy’s grasp-the defeated foe who still wants to steal, kill, and destroy the goodness in our lives. Thankfully, we are sealed with the Spirit of God, and He searches our hearts, convicts us, and teaches us so that we might repent and be cleansed and sanctified, ”by the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:26 {NKJV) We practice remaining in the blessings when we let the Holy Spirit confront us with our sins and lead us to repentance. By replacing the deceit, rebellion, and false identity we have walked in through sin, we return to the promised land of His protection and abundant blessings. Just like the Israelites discovered, our sin, even repented from, may have consequences that test our faithfulness and trust in this fallen world, but our loving Good Shepherd will make a way for us again. His unconditional love can be counted on!



{As adapted from THE BONDAGE BREAKER and STOMPING OUT THE DARKNESS by Dr. Neil T. Anderson and Dr. Dave Park}

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