One of the most misused passages in God’s word is John 10:10, where the Lord Jesus Christ speaks to the people saying, “The thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” What’s being taught is that Christ will bless us with wealth and prosperity in this life, and that all of our struggles would vanish when we allow Him to rule in our lives and become Christians. So when people come to Christ with all of their turmoil, they believe all of their troubles will immediately be over to live in prosperity. But such is far from the truth, and, unfortunately, when one comes into Christ with this mindset and see that it doesn’t happen, they forsake Him and leave His church to go back into the world.
I’m here to write to you, my dears readers, to say that this Christian life is not all about tiptoeing through the tulips and have nothing in your life going wrong with a bank account flowing with money. The Christian life is a life of suffering. This word means “Christ follower,” and He lived a life full of suffering. A servant is not above his master, so the things that are done to the master will be done to the servant. The apostle Peter wrote, “If when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:20,21).
As Christians, good times are not going to always roll. There will be times when you’ll be persecuted for wearing the name of Christ: whether by death or through lost of friendships; by mental persecution or physical; verbal or being fired from your job; kicked out of your place or through constant arguments or abuse from your family members, we must suffer for the name of Christ because of the wickedness of this world. The Lord Himself stated, “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come” (Matthew 18:7).
So what, then, did Jesus mean when He said that He came for us to have life in abundance? The apostle Paul visually showed us this answer through his life, saying, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13). The abundance of life means being content in Christ through all situations and enduring the sufferings; it means entrusting ourselves to Him, knowing that all things work together for the good because of the grace and eternal life found in the One who was nailed to cross for our sake.
One line from the film called The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) stuck with me for years, it’s my favorite line in the entire movie: “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, and be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout, ‘Do your worst, for I will do mine!'” Now, “worst” not being the best word for this article, but the moral of the line rings trues: look this world with all of its pains and troubles in its face and say ‘do the best you’ve got, for I will do mine,’ because greater is He who is in us than the evil one in the world. We’ve already obtained the victory in the Lord of glory.
Therefore, as our beloved brother Paul has already said, “come, and be a partaker of the sufferings with me for the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8).