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How to Live the Abundant Life in John 10:10

Caitlin Bean

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I love that Jesus' desire for us is not merely to exist or cope with our circumstances but to live abundantly. It sounds so hopeful and exhilarating. But what is the abundant life? And how do we obtain it? Here are three practices I’ve found that have helped me to embrace this plan for my life. 

1. Identify the Thief
The verse that ends exuberantly begins with a solemn warning: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Taking time to examine who or what is a thief in your life is crucial. There are so many voices and activities competing for our attention. They, too, promise happiness and fulfillment, but they are empty promises. Do you spend too much time on social media? Is gossip a habit in your life? Do you focus on politics so much that you ultimately forget Jesus is King and not some political party or president? Perhaps the thief is more subtle—something that in and of itself is not bad but is often over-prioritized, especially over prayer (for example, exercise, work, diet, academia, hobbies, cleaning, self-care, being a "perfect" mom).

2. Order Your Priorities—Begin with God
Once you identify the thieves in your life, the next step is to properly order your priorities and place God first. Admittedly, this is a lifelong process—not one that can be summed up in a brief blog post. However, Lisa Brenninkmeyer reminds us that the beginning of this process starts with prioritizing our relationship with God so that He can reveal to us His plan:

God wants to help you with the ups and downs of life...He knows how they threaten your peace. God can be trusted to remove all obstacles and to smooth the rough ways when that is what is best for you. Your part is to clear the way in your schedule so that time with God isn’t just a good intention, but the way that you start your day.[1]

Commit yourself to doing one of the most practical Bible studies from Walking with Purpose: Ordering Your Priorities: Building a Life Well Lived. It helps you place the most essential things first to create a life you don’t want to escape.

3. Immerse Yourself in the Sacraments
Jesus makes it super clear that our source of life comes from Him. If we are not receiving Him, how can we expect to have the abundant life He promises? The sacraments are salvific and life-giving, always bringing us deeper into communion with the God who is love. These sources of grace transform us further into the person God created us to be. In particular, we should receive the sacrament of the Eucharist and Reconciliation frequently. The Eucharist is the most intimate way we can be united to Jesus on this side of heaven. The sacrament of Reconciliation allows us to return to God when we have turned away from Him. Though many people dread it, it is one of the most beautiful sacraments, and it is full of hope and grace. It draws us to the merciful heart of the Father, renews our spirit, and helps us live a life of conversion.

To live the John 10:10 life is to live a life committed to Christ. It takes discipline, continual conversion, and a life rooted in Scripture and the sacraments. When we choose this life and ignore the many thieves that surround us, we are sure to have a life of abundance, hope, and peace. 

[1] Lisa Brenninkmeyer, Ordering Your Priorities: Building a Life Well Lived (USA: Walking with Purpose, Inc., 2020), p 26.

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