Who Are You – John 10:1-18
Theology, sociology, psychology and other “ogies” have added their two cents worth on life. While I respect many of their theories, they have not relieved us of suffering and oppression. Yet, mankind continues to look to these pseudo-saviors for answers. Wise men know our plagues are systemic; there is a common backstory, something deeper and foundational we must drill down into if we are to find root causes. However, academics, who have expelled God from their thinking, cannot drill deep enough. Followers of Christ can. A single verse of scripture has served me more than all the “-ogies” in thinking about the foundations of reality.
A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. John 10:10 MSG
This is Jesus’ one sentence pronouncement on ultimate cause and effect. As a follower of the Shepherd, this verse has natural governance over the way I understand the bible and the mystery of life. In both the scriptures and living there are many things I cannot fully understand or explain. John 10:10 does as much to explain the foundational reality of our mysterious backstory as any sentence I know of.
This story involves a very accomplished thief and a very good Shepherd. The Shepherd is also a King who is vying for our hearts, and through them, the dominion of this earth. When I see something that has been stolen or is being stolen; when I see something that is dead or is dying; when I see something that has been destroyed or is being destroyed, I immediately presume its the thief – the Shepherd’s enemy and ours, who has climbed over the fence somehow and has gotten into the sheepfold.
Where I see new things being birthed and growing, I assume the Shepherd is involved. I have adopted this basic premise as a cornerstone to my cosmology (i.e. – my understanding of the mystery). Stated even more simply: God is good. Satan is purely evil. This foundational truth is not only a key to wisdom and discernment, it is essential in hearing the Shepherd’s voice.
He calls His own sheep by name…and the sheep hear His voice…and He leads them out…I am the Good Shepherd…and I know my own, and my own know me. (verses 3 & 14)
I will have followed this Shepherd for 40 years, this Spring. He has never permitted the enemy to ravage me. But the wolf has dug his teeth into me on occasion. It required the help of a few of the Shepherd’s apprentices to help me identify the tracks of the beast which had somehow crawled over the fence and had bitten into my heart. The doorway (or gate) into my heart is through my eyes and through my mind. The enemy had been trafficking in the domain of my thoughts in subtle ways since I was a child. He had covered his tracks masterfully. So thorough was the dissemination of his lies in my belief system, it had effected who I believed myself to be.
After discovering this, we (his under-shepherds and I), identified those patterns of thought that were contributing to death in all it expressions. I broke my associations and agreements with those old familiar lies about God, myself and others. Since then, I am more apt to recognize the enemy’s tone of voice, with its condemnation and accusation. That is the voice of the stranger who I will not follow.
And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.
In 1976, I entered through the gate and was saved. Jesus served as a living bridge that I crossed over from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. Here, I have been given safety and pardon. I am a son of God with some bite marks but they only serve to remind me we are still at war. Now in my sixth decade, I reflect on the story God is writing on my life and I concur with John 10:10; He truly is a good Shepherd and is faithful to provide eternal life, an abundantly better one than I ever dreamed possible.
Father, may you teach us to recognize the enemy’s voice where it is entangled in the roots of our depressions, our sickness, our hopelessness, our fear and all other places where death and decay are stealing and eroding away the foundations of our life, robbing us of our
truest identities in Christ and the abundance that is intended to flow from our innermost beings in Christ. In Your precious and wonderful name. Amen.