Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a tire? (Sherrel rolls her eyes and says, “Where do you come up with this stuff?”) But think about it… seriously.
Imagine being a tire on a farm truck. Rocks, cow manure, mud, briars… right in your face… and you have no control. You just go round and round wherever somebody else steers you. You never get a compliment for doing your job. You never get any feedback at all… except when you go flat. And then you get a good cussing.
If you didn't know I was talking about a day in the life of a tire, you might think I was describing one of your days. We all have those kinds of days. Hopefully they're few and far between, but it doesn't seem that way for many of the people I see.
A couple of weeks ago I was looking around the restaurant as we were eating a burger. A lady, sitting alone, was reading a book with her nose about four inches from the pages. Two little kids, who must have been short on exercise and long on sugar, were running around between the tables. A man in obvious pain limped by with his cane and his food. And all this was right after I let one of the employees know about somebody's underwear lying on the bathroom floor. I noticed only one table with people who looked and acted as if life was good. How many of us were putting up with stuff we didn't necessarily have to put up with?
If you ever feel your life is too much like the life of a tire, I want to talk with you about changing your position.
Think about the phrase used in law enforcement: “Assume the position.” I've never been arrested, but I've heard others describe their personal experiences. And with all the crime dramas on the TV, it doesn't take much for any of us to be able to imagine being in a position of such weakness and powerlessness.
If I am the man against the wall, I am defenseless. I am controlled from behind and have surrendered to something I can't even face. No privacy… no dignity… whatever is controlling me has complete access to any part of me. I have no fight left in me. I can't imagine any other position—the thought doesn't even occur to me.
But Jesus has made it possible for us to do what we think to be the impossible: We can switch positions with whatever is controlling us. We don't have to be the man against the wall; we can be the man in charge.
Think of at least one “stupid” in your life that you learned how to fix. When you see someone now with the same “stupid” you had back then, don't you want to go up and say, “You don't have to live like this. Can we talk?”
We call that “advice.” And it's not just limited to foolishness. “My car used to act like yours, and I ….” “I had that same issue with my back and I ….” “I just about went broke over that same kind of deal, but I ….” And if people don't follow our advice, we wonder why. Why do they just keep letting something keep them up against the wall, when they could change their position?
Jesus is speaking to each of us today: “You don't have to live like this. Can we talk?”
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)
There's too much stealing, killing, and destroying going on. While it's understandable for people without God, it's unconscionable for Christians. But we are not “required” to have abundant life; we are only “able” to have abundant life.
So what is abundant life? By definition, this life is a result of fellowship with Him, and it is lived in super or excessive abundance. Maybe it will be easier to define what it's not, with just a few examples:
- Not feeling good enough physically to do anything other than caring for yourself
- Not having the money and other resources to accomplish the desires God has put on your heart
- Not having a confidence in God's love for you
- Not having a reason to look forward to every day of the week
- Not having any peace, but living in constant dread of bad news
The stealing, killing, and destroying will come against us, but we do not have to be controlled by it. Jesus tells us we will have tribulation in this world. But He also tells us to have courage and be of good courage because He has overcome the world (see John 16:33).
If Jesus has deprived the world of its power to harm us, if Jesus has subverted the world's influence over us, then the world simply cannot control us without our permission. Whatever comes against us, we have the God‐given ability to control. We cannot stop everything from coming against us, but we can keep it from putting us up against the wall.
I can hear the “exceptions” coming in from all over the world. “I've got this medical condition and my doctor says there's nothing I can do about it.” “My child was born with a disability.” “I was severely abused all through my childhood.” “In my community one of my friends was killed last month for being a Christian.” “The poverty rate is so high in my country, nobody has any money.”
I am not passing judgment. I am passing on encouragement from the Lord. But what you will not consider, you most likely will not experience.
Reason with me for a minute, because the opportunity for being offended is great. Whenever there appears to be a conflict between the Word and our experience, which came first—reading the Word or having the experience? I believe, in most cases, when we have a conflict with the Word it's because the Word does not agree with our previous experience. And we all know how difficult it is to consider anything that goes against our experience.
The day after feeding the five thousand, when Jesus was speaking to another crowd in Capernaum He made the following statement: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (see John 6:35).” Remember, Jesus is speaking to Jews who had eaten all their lives without His help. They also knew of God's “bread from Heaven” long before they'd ever heard of Jesus. Don't you think there was some major offending going on? And then Jesus makes an even bolder claim: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (see John 6:53).”
When His disciples heard this, many of them said, This is a hard and difficult and strange saying (an offensive and unbearable message). Who can stand to hear it? [Who can be expected to listen to such teaching?] But Jesus, knowing within Himself that His disciples were complaining and protesting and grumbling about it, said to them: Is this a stumbling block and an offense to you? [Does this upset and displease and shock and scandalize you?] (John 6:60–61 Amp Bible)
“Lord, You say I can live an abundant life. But my experience says otherwise. I live with stealing, killing, and destroying too much of the time. Help me Lord. Give me a vision of this abundant life, and help me learn how to live it. In Jesus' name.”
We'll continue tomorrow.
Have a good day,