Summary: Jesus promises us life but in the same breath says that life will be fought by a thief...
Warfare of the Image Bearer #1
(This is the beginning message to accompany the congregation wide reading of Waking the Dead, by John Eldredge. Many of the thoughts and ideas come from him.)
Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle without looking at the picture of the completed puzzle on the box?
Do you ever feel like you are trying to put the pieces to the puzzle of your life together and you just don’t know where they should go?
Is your life characterized by the feeling that you are in a hurry to get somewhere but you are not sure where you are going?
“In the movie The Perfect Storm, John Spillane is a Para-rescue jumper sent into the North Atlantic. He has been sent into the worst storm of the twentieth century and is forced to jump into pitch blackness from an unknown height, and when he hits the water, he’s going so fast it’s like hitting pavement from eighty feet above. He is dazed and confused…He is disoriented…for a bit he doesn’t know where he is at. John Spillane’s jump and disorientation is a really good picture of the way a lot of us live our lives; we wish we could snap out of our disorientation and clearly see the real story God meant for us to live.” Waking the Dead, John Eldredge
Often we have no idea who we really are. We are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle of our lives but we can’t clearly see the picture of who we really are and where we’re supposed to be going.
- It’s almost like we are in the driver’s seat but the windshield is muddied…
And without that clear focus for our lives we tend to scatter our energies and we slide into mediocrity. We do a little in a lot of areas but we don’t seem to make much impact. Our lives are not changed. Our relationships are not strengthened. Our financial needs go unmet. We are struggling yet we keep trying to put another piece to a puzzle that we can’t see.
The more brutal life becomes the more we ask ourselves the question: What is really going on here? If God is for me, why does it seem so hard?
If we could just see the picture of the incomplete puzzle…
Here’s the good news: One of the main purposes of Jesus’ entry into history was to help us see the completed big picture of the puzzle of our lives! Jesus came so that we could see where the pieces of the puzzle of our lives go!
When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on Saturday, and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17The book of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him, and he opened it to the place where it says:
18-19“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”
Luke 4:16-19 TLB
Jesus came so that we could see the big picture and put the pieces to the puzzle of our lives together with confidence!
Jesus came to show us how to live life.
Why then, do we live in such a fog?
How come we don’t see the big picture to the puzzle of our lives?
Does God not want us to see it?
The answer to our struggle lies in understanding our need to SEE the real world we live in.
Look at this verse:
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 NKJV
Here in the same breath, Jesus talks about thievery, death and destruction and abundant life. Jesus somehow marries this connection between abundant life and a destroying, killing “thief.”
Notice, this is a thief, not a robber. What is the difference? A robber holds you up to your face. A robber steals from you openly by force. A thief is one that steals from you secretly. A thief wants to keep you in ignorance of his thievery.
Jesus is telling us that there is a thief that wants to keep you from the knowledge of the fact that you are being stolen from.
Jesus has promised us abundant life.
"Abundant" life…the word means: Above ordinary; a life of excellence, beyond measure; superfluous; superabundant; excessive; superior in quality
Jesus has promised us abundant life but He is clueing us in that there is a thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy.