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14 May '11

The daily choice: Be a life giver or a life taker

Posted by T.J. Addington in The heart
In John 10:10, Jesus makes a profound statement about himself in contrast to the evil one and it has implications for our daily lives. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." There is much that can be said about this verse but I want to look at it from the view of a daily choice that we make.

Everything about the evil one is life taking. His goal is to demean, put down, discourage, destroy, and literally suck the joy, purpose and meaning of life from us. He will do anything he can to hurt us, keep us in the bondage of sin, discourage us from living out our calling and lie to us about who we are. He is all about stealing life from us. His greatest joy is to keep us from the Father and a relationship with him. He is a life taker.


Everything about Jesus is about giving life. Through a relationship with him, through forgiveness, through the Holy Spirit in our lives, through the purpose he brings, the joy and peace in spite of circumstances. No one gives life like Jesus. He is the consummate life giver in every way. "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. He is a life giver.


In the Epistles, Paul often talks about things we are to take off and things we are to take on. The "take offs" are those things from our lower nature and sinful behaviors that are life taking both for ourselves and others. The "put ons" are life giving to ourselves and others. As we take off and put on we become more like Jesus, the one who came to give life and fullness of life.


The daily choice we make is whether we will choose to be life giving to ourselves and others or whether through our words, behaviors and attitudes we will be life taking. When my "cranky" self hurts my wife, I am life taking. When I am critical, unforgiving, impatient with others I am life taking. On the other hand, when I am living with the fruit of the Spirit and the love of 1 Corinthians 13, I am life giving - like Jesus. Think about how Jesus was a life giver to those around Him while the Pharisees were life takers with their legalism and critical, pompous spirits.


None of us want to be life takers but it takes a conscious choice to live like Jesus as a life giver in our relationships, care for others, words, attitudes and the quality of our love. 


There is a reason we love to hang around "life givers." They encourage, accept us for who we are, extend us grace, cheer us on and build us up. Why? They are like Jesus as a life giver. Every morning I ask myself - will I be a life giver or life taker today?