How to Live Your Best Life
Are you living your best life these days? A lot of folks are trying to! In fact, there have been plenty of books published in the past few years with that idea in their titles. Who wouldn’t want to live their best life? Did you know Jesus was teaching about how to do that long ago?
John records Jesus saying: 10 …I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10b. Some translations use the phrase “abundant life.” Jesus doesn’t offer us a ho-hum life, a boring life, or an “ok” life; He offers us a full life, an abundant life, our best life! In fact this idea in the original language has in it’s meaning an excessive, overflowing, extraordinary life. The root word means “beyond”. It is an abundance beyond measure, exceeding the limits of what can be quantified or calculated.
To be clear, we’re not talking about prosperity or wealth here; that can be measured. What Jesus offers us is far beyond measure. In fact, it is of eternal significance! In John 10, we discover how Jesus offers us abundant life…
1) Jesus provides the only door for our salvation and eternal life! (John 10:1-9)
What do you know about sheep and shepherding? Let me tell you just a little about sheep (and you can listen to the sermon to get the full picture). Of all domesticated animals, sheep are the most helpless. They desperately need a shepherd to care for them. Each evening shepherds lead their sheep into a sheepfold where they will be safe over night. Then, the shepherd lays in front of the opening to the fold, keeping the sheep in and predators out. The shepherd literally becomes “the gate” or “the door” to the fold for the sheep.
So, in this passage, Jesus makes clear that He is not only the shepherd of the sheep, but He is also the gate for the sheep. He is making clear that salvation is available only through Him. Jesus is not just a gate or a door; He is the gate, the door. In other words, He provides the only door to our salvation and eternal life!
There are some today who might say or teach that Jesus is only one gate to salvation; but that is not what Jesus taught. In fact, in this context, and in truth, Jesus is saying that any religious leader who says salvation can come by any other means is a “thief” and a “robber.” They are aiding Satan, whose goal is to distort, question and confuse; to cause people to think there might be another way to salvation.
Jesus invites us into the fold. He is ready to care for us, protect us and most importantly, to save us from the sin that keeps us far from God. He has already taken on our sin’s penalty of death on the cross. The only question is, by faith, do you believe? (John 3:16-17). That belief leads to abundant life!
2) Jesus laid down His life so that we could have life! (John 10:11-18)
In these verses, notice that Jesus doesn’t just call Himself the shepherd, but the “good” shepherd. What does He mean? Jesus is continuing to contrast Himself with some of the religious leaders of His time. This word “good” in the original language (kalos) has to do with Jesus’ unique character. It describes Him as “noble, wholesome, beautiful”, not just outwardly, but also inwardly. It is an innate goodness. This is opposed to the inherently “wicked, mean, unlovely” nature of the Pharisees in that time. Jesus is the “good” shepherd, willing to lay down His life to save us.
There are huge benefits to living under the care of the Good Shepherd, all of which enables us to live an abundant life!
When danger comes, Jesus protects us. (John 10:12)
Sheep are extremely vulnerable for lots of reasons. They have poor eyesight, terrible hearing, slow feet, no sharp claws or powerful jaws. Besides that, they are easily frightened and confused. They need a good shepherd to protect them. Good shepherds are willing to put their life on the line to protect their sheep. (1 Samuel 17:34ff).
Let’s face it, whether we want to admit it or not, there are plenty of dangers in this world, not the least of which is Satan whose aim is to destroy us. We desperately need the protection of the Good Shepherd if we want to live an abundant life!
When we are in need, Jesus provides for us. (Psalm 23:1-2)
A good shepherd provides for His sheep. Our God does the same for us. Psalm 23 reminds us how, with God’s care, we lack nothing! Just like a good shepherd who leads his sheep to green pastures and still water, God provides for all our needs too! If you lack anything these days, then you may have wandered out of the care of the Good Shepherd.
When we are lost, Jesus calls to us. (John 10:14; Psalm 23:3; Isaiah 53:6)
One redeeming quality in sheep is that they can clearly recognize the voice of their shepherd. When their shepherd calls them, they come to him and they follow him.
But one big problem for sheep is that they have a natural tendency to wander off and get lost. Sound familiar? When we go astray and take the wrong path, we are in serious risk… risk of getting lost, being attacked or falling off a cliff!
Maybe you have wandered away from Christ. You are far from Him and you are paying the price for that. As a result, your life is in disarray. Maybe you’re struggling emotionally, physically, spiritually. You are not experiencing an “abundant” life. And you know it’s because you’re lost.
Are you listening for His voice? He is calling you back home. He wants you to come back under His care, His protection, His direction again. Do you want to live your best life? Jesus offers us full, abundant life, not just for today, but forever! 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28.
For much more, click here to listen to the message, Light in the Darkness - Part 10 - How to Live An Abundant Life.