The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
Some of us refuse to fight. We don't like the effort that it takes. It is easier to make peace rather than going to battle. It can be at work when you know someone has been wronged, or there is an unchecked evil, and you refuse to speak up. You could be over at a friend's house, and you know they are intoxicated, upset with their spouse, and hurting their family emotionally. But you sit back, minding your own business. It may even be that your marriage is falling apart and instead of stepping into the ring and working through your problems, you run away and hide in the business of other things. When we refuse to fight the battles that God allows us to be in, we let the enemy win. God has called us to take a stand against Satan's attacks.
Jesus knew that we would encounter great difficulty from the evil one. In fact, when He was talking to the disciples and religious leaders, He addressed Satan's real purpose to kill and destroy. If you take the time to read this passage, it is built in the context of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. During the time Jesus walked the earth, shepherds would often put themselves in a place to protect their sheep. They would bring their sheep into a pen built with rocks, and the shepherd would sleep in the opening as the gate. When a wolf would try to attack one of the sheep, the shepherd would do whatever it took to rescue the sheep. King David, as a shepherd, took on a lion and a bear to make sure that his herd was protected. While we have an adversary that wants to destroy us, we have a bigger God who wants to protect us. Satan wants to kill and destroy us while Jesus came to give us abundant life.
In that way, Jesus gives us the power to fight the attacks of the evil one. On our own, we are puffy, soft, vulnerable — a very tempting lunch for a wolf. But in the pen of the good shepherd, we have a God who fights for us. When we wander away from Him and get separated from the herd, it makes us vulnerable to Satan's tactics. If the enemy can isolate us, he knows that we will be prone to fall. But if we stay close to the Good Shepherd, He not only gives us the abundant life He promised, He gives us the power to take a stand. He gives us the eyes to see that there is a Forgotten War all around us, and supernatural courage to speak up when necessary. Will you choose to fight in this battle?
When you think about Satan as a thief, robber, or wolf, make a list of all the schemes that he has in your notes. After you think about how Satan came to rob us of the life God wanted, think about Jesus. Write out a list of ways that Jesus gives life as the Good Shepherd. Work through the ways that He offers the abundant life to those who have put their faith and trust in Him. Finally, write out some ways that you can fight for the abundant life against the attacks of the evil one.
Read John 10:1-15 (NLT)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.
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