As I mentioned in the last blog, while reading Ephesians 4:28, something really stood out to me.
“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (ESV)
The words my eyes and heart seemed to lock in on were “Let the thief no longer steal…”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)
Jesus is speaking of the devil, and while Jesus has gone to the cross and paid for our freedom from the devil, he, the thief is still finding plenty of people to rip off; even those who are born again.
How is this so? The first way is when someone doesn’t know the thief’s plans (is ignorant of his devices), and isn’t ready for the attack. He may not even be aware he’s been robbed!
Paul said we’re to be aware of what our enemy is up to.
“…so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV)
So did Peter.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)
Designs, devices, plans, ideas, thoughts, plots… all speak of something the evil one does on purpose, for a specific outcome.
Our responsibility, if we’re to stop the thief, is to first know the character and nature of our adversary, and through the word and leading of the Spirit of God, recognize the ploys of our enemy.
Jesus said, “But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.” (Luke 12:39 ESV)
Sure, He was referring to the coming of the Lord. But what He said also applies to every area of our life; i.e. don’t allow the thief any room to work in your life.
So how can we keep him at bay?
1. Learn to hear the Master’s (Jesus) voice. He speaks in accordance with His word, so become a student of the Word (especially the New Testament).
2. Be quick to respond to a prompting of the Spirit, even if it doesn’t make sense. What if you’re not sure it’s God? Then talk to a friend who has a history of hearing and obeying God. They may be able to help you sort things out.
3. Don’t accept everything that comes into your life as God’s will. It just isn’t so. If everything was God’s will, there’d be no reason to be vigilant about watching for the devil’s maneuvers.
That’s why it’s of utmost importance to know the difference between God’s will and the thief’s shenanigans.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15 – 5:17 ESV)
Do we have time to waste? Then we have time to get to know our Father and His ways better. For the better we know the Father’s voice, the better we’ll be at fending off the thief.
God’s will brings peace and wholeness, while the thief’s intent is to steal, kill, and destroy.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 ESV)
The next post will cover the second reason why the thief is getting fat off the lives of God’s people (and how to stop him).
We compromise God’s “security system” (ignore His word):
A. with our actions (or lack of action)
B. our words
C. our attitudes