“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

Jesus declares he’s come that we may have life and life more abundantly. He also warns us that the thief has come to steal, kill and destroy. There is a battle! Jesus is giving you life, and the thief is stealing, killing and destroying. Do you see this conflict play out? 

To "kill" means to cause a death of, put an end to or cause the failure or defeat of something. 

Have you ever invested time, money, energy, heart and life into something that has suddenly come to an end, failed or been taken away? It was important and of value to you. It could be a person, relationship, career/ job, business, church, a physical or mental ability, home, car, dream or goal. 

Do you see this conflict play out? 

To "steal" means to take without permission.

For example confidence, self image self worth.

The discourager: You finally get the courage to write a song. You are happy with it and someone comes along, reads it without permission and gives an uninvited opinion: "maybe you should try something else because writing doesn't seem like your calling." End result: You screw it up, throw it in the bin and say to yourself, "I guess I'm not called to write music like Pastor prayed last week." 

Do you see this conflict play out? 

To "Destroy" means the end of existence of something by damaging or attacking it.

How many friends or family members have you had that you were once inseparable from, but now you’re lucky if you speak to them once a year? Yes; you have your reasons and justifications, but upon reflection you realise that they’re futile. How is everyone affected?

Do you see this conflict play out?

Lately, I’ve personally experienced several conflicts. It started with my health; causing me to no longer function as I used to. As a consequence I can no longer drive, my career is in question and my finances have taken a drastic plummet. So with the increase of these conflicts; plus the usual relational and emotional conflicts, I personally felt overwhelmed. 

We are warned of these conflicts in John 10:10, but when you’re experiencing them head on, it can cause internal chaos. Do you ever feel like you are constantly opposed, and regardless of what you do you don't seem to get a break? This is where I’ve found myself over the last year.

Through a personal study of John 10:10 I discovered:

Life is defined as the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continual change preceding death. 

Abundance is great quantity. 

These definitions caused me to question God: "Where is this development, progress, and continual change?" "Why am I not actively functioning?" "Why do I only see conflict, conflict, conflict; when you promised large quantities of life?"

Over the past year God has walked me through a process where He has answered my questions. I want to share His answers with you. 

We are making choices to change every day, whether we are going in a positive or negative direction depends upon what decisions we make. The choices we make are demonstrated in our responses. Our responses are a reproduction of what we think. 

Proverbs 23:7a (NASB) “For as he thinks within himself, so he is." 

It starts with what we think, and then we do it. Our thought patterns are the motherboard to our actions. We produce what we think. Our motherboards need to be addressed. 

Let’s break this down using the example of the discourager. You make the decision that the song you wrote is good and you’re confident it’s a good first piece. Then someone; without permission, proposes a different thought. Why allow their opinion to steal your confidence and choose to turn from something you have been told God wants you to do? 

In 2Corinthians 10:3-5, Paul teaches us to challenge and throw away arguments. Please don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting we don’t listen to constructive feedback but what I’m suggesting is that we wake up by acknowledging what we are thinking. Stop, reflect and question what we are thinking before we respond with an action. 

Rather than agreeing with the negative opinion, stop and question the suggestion. Ask yourself do I agree? Then make a decision to reject or agree. If you disagree, declare what you originally decided. It may be difficult at first but if you stand firm in your decision and agreeing with it, I guarantee you whilst it may not be your best song, it will encourage you to keep writing and produce songs like God has said. 

This point highlights the second lesson I’ve learnt - the power of agreement. We have been given the choice to choose what we agree with. Therefore, use it wisely because unless you renounce what you agree with, you have given permission for that thought to rule and dominate your life. 

The third lesson: in order to be an overcomer of daily conflict we must choose to mature. We cannot respond to conflicts like immature children and expect to overcome. We must address our attitude, perspective, behaviour and character. The days of whining are over. It's time to stand, think, be honest with ourselves and respond in the way Christ teaches us. We must walk in partnership with Christ. It'sonly by doing things Christ’s way will we ever truly be victorious. 

Jesus has come to give us LIFE but it does not work like a magic wand. Jesus does not declare abracadabra. Jesus didn’t say we are in a fairy tale and life will be easy. Jesus highlights we are in a battle. The Life Jesus has given us does not make the conflicts disappear. The Life Jesus is giving us is provision in the midst of the conflict. The life Jesus is giving is the wisdom of how to respond. The life Jesus is giving us is the strength to endure. The life Jesus is giving us is healing beyond the negative health report. The life Jesus is giving is peace so we can see things from a different perspective. Jesus declares that we may have life in abundance, so it’s not promised that we will have a little victory, peace, joy, or a bit of relief. No, He declares that we have it in abundance.

We must: rise, grow up, challenge, think, and allow the power of Christ to dictate our responses to the conflicts to our daily lives. Life is ours; believe it, receive and accept it! 

BY CHARLENE KERR-SPENCER

References

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/killhttps://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/destroy
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/stealhttp://www.dictionary.com/browse/abundant
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/life
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/growth
https://pixabay.com/en/insecurity-fear-isolated-worried-440229/https://pixabay.com/en/outlook-contemplate-think-discover-2208932/
https://pixabay.com/en/person-mountain-top-achieve-1245959/

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