“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10 (ESV)
How ironic for Christ to say – He came to give life. Considering how, He is also the one who says, lose your life. (Lk 9:23-24) Let me explain. The life He is talking about in the first context, is well documented in its preceding verse. “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.” (Jn 10:9, NLT) The life Christ is talking about (here) is eternal, and the context here is of salvation. Whereas, the life we ought to lose is one of worldliness. This is a life marked with the vain-glorious pursuit of mortal desires. “People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves” (Rom 8:5, CEV) “(and then) we are tempted by our own desires (Js 1:14, CEV) … then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (Js 1:15, ESV)” Therefore, when Christ says, lose you life, He is saying, lose worldliness which is being dead–in–sin. It is the same reason why we also find Him addressing worldly people as dead. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’” (Lk 9:60, ESV)
The reason why Christ calls for losing worldliness is not only because it leads to spiritual death. It is also because it leads to self-idolatry. Because worldliness prioritizes self-interest, and our self-centred desires above God. What YHWH demands from us, is an undivided devotion. Hence, the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20:3-5, KJV) The Psalmist, likewise, wisely pleads “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (Ps 86:11, ESV) But more than that, the reason why we should lose our life is because Christ offered His. The reason why we should lose our worldliness is because, Christ offers an eternal life; and not just that – He offers an abundance of it.
Albert Barnes writes: “Literally, that they may have abundance, or that which abounds. The word denotes that which is not absolutely essential to life, but which is superadded to make life happy. They shall not merely have life – simple, bare existence – but they shall have all those superadded things which are needful to make that life eminently blessed and happy. It would be vast mercy to keep men merely from annihilation or hell; but Jesus will give them eternal joy, peace, the society of the blessed, and all those exalted means of felicity which are prepared for them in the world of glory.”
But one common hindrance to losing worldliness is worldly care. It is not only the pursuit of worldly interests that stumbles us, but it is also the matter of survival. What will I eat, drink, and wear? Where will I live? How do I take care of my loved ones? Et cetera. And these are all honest concerns. It is true, not everything is about conceit. But Christ says, “‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ‘Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mat 6:25-34, ESV)
Christ came to grant us an abundant life. It would be a shame to lose such matchless offering. It is a life that we cannot afford by our own. Let us celebrate this offering. And meditate on it. Isn’t that why we celebrate Christmas? Let us pray and seek His face, that He would lead us from worldliness to godliness.
Read previous entries in this Series:
(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real