A couple weeks ago, I was sitting with Joshua (my 5 year old) in one of the hallways of Alliyah’s school, waiting for Alliyah to be done with an after school meeting. Joshua observed a mom getting into the locker of her child and leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “Mom, is that a robber?” I tried really hard to stifle my laughter because he was dead serious. I carefully explained that the women getting into the locker was most likely the mother of the student who used that locker, so it was okay for her to get into the locker. He simply replied, “Oh.” It was an honest question.
Later that week, Joshua and I were talking about potential names for his soon-to-be-born baby brother. As you can imagine, we have had some pretty creative and hysterical suggestions. During the conversation, we were talking about the full names of everyone in our family. Then Joshua asks, “Is Daddy a robber?” It quickly dawned on me that Joshua had been mis-hearing Todd’s middle name. Instead of hearing “Robert,” he heard “Robber.” Todd Robber Heerlyn. Again, I had to try hard not to laugh out loud.
All this talk of “robbers” has gotten me thinking about a deeper spiritual reality that is playing out. There is so much that goes on in the spiritual realm that we do not see. Because we can not see it, it can be easy to forget it exists. But the bible tells us to be on guard because the devil is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. There are spiritual forces of evil at work all the time. Thankfully, there are also angels fighting on our behalf. In reality, Jesus broke any real power the enemy had when he hung on the cross. The enemy just does not want us to believe that is true.
Jesus addressed the enemy and called him a thief or a “robber,” implying that the enemy was in the business of taking things that do not belong to him.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
We all have an enemy who hates us and wants us miserable. He also hopes to fly under the radar so as to not receive credit for his handiwork. He does not want to be caught in the act and have it revealed that he really has no power, other than the power we give him. He is opposed to anything that has life, and so he slowly weasels his way across our paths and steals bits and pieces wherever he can. It is these bits and pieces that can add up real quick if we are not aware of how he is working.
I wonder how many of us could answer with a resounding, “Yes!” when asked the question, “Do you have a full life?” I am not talking about a BUSY life, I am talking about a FULL life. There is a big difference and we all know it.
Jesus came to make our life rich and full, not busy. God wants for our hearts to be full with a fullness that is not altered by circumstances.
If Jesus came to earth so that we could have a “full” life, I wonder why so few of us feel “full” much of the time. It would seem that some of us are being constantly robbed.
If joy and peace could be measured in a glass, could you carry your glass around without spilling on yourself or others. If so, I wonder if your glass is as full as Jesus intended.
The “Thief” is crafty. He uses circumstances, worries of life, money, busyness, etc. to carefully and strategically tip our glasses to where we do not realize anything is running out until we go to take a sip and come up parched. Our lacking in the joy and peace department results in an inability to share any with others as well.
The Thief is no respecter of life circumstances. The treasure he seeks is joy and peace and he will steal it from anyone and everyone – regardless of how wonderful their life may seem. Some work outside the home. Some stay home with kids. Some work in jobs they love. Some work in jobs they really do not like. Some are “living the dream,” whatever that dream may have been: get married, have kids, have x amount of money, being able to travel or do whatever they dreamed of doing. Others are still waiting for dreams to come true. Too many of us see what others have and think we might be happier if our life was like theirs – maybe not in its entirely, but in part. Am I right?
You would think that those who are “living the dream,” or have many of the things they ever wanted, would be happy, but I hear too many people say they are not happy. On the contrary, I have visited places where the poorest of the poor live and most of them are “full,” even while their stomachs may be empty.
The physical and the spiritual operate in much the same way when it comes to fullness. Hunger alerts us to a need to be filled. Thankfully, we have all we need to be full always. We have no need to hunger when it comes to our spiritual well-being. What does your glass look like?
The fullness that Jesus came to release on earth has nothing to do with how the events of life are playing out. It has everything to do with our capacity to receive Him and what he offers. He offers a peace that can not be understood without experiencing it. He offers unconditional love. He offers a hysterical joy that can not be quenched. He offers himself, the whole package: peace, love, joy, truth…and we can not find the fullness of these things apart from him.
And the news gets even better. God does not just offer these things until your cup is full. He offers joy, peace, and love to an overflowing measure. Our cups are meant to be so full that everyone around us gets soaked by the joy and peace and love that spill over from our lives. The best part is, we do not have to try hard to give these things away. It is the overflow of God’s presence in our lives that naturally flows into the lives of those around us. Our only job is to seek fulfillment in God.
The Thief comes to steal all that God has to offer, but we can be wise travelers and keep our precious belongings close at hand. Like a traveler that wears their money belt inside their clothes, we need to wear our peace and our joy and our love deep inside our hearts where God protects those precious assets and they can not be stolen, no matter what may come our way.
When we are filled with Him, we truly feel full. What do you need to do TODAY that you may have a more “full” (not busier) life?