My daughter fell victim to a thief yesterday. Someone broke the window of her car and stole from her. This happened outside my apartment in just the few short minutes she had come in to pick up her daughter. Quite disturbing.
She noticed someone watching her as she headed to my door, but it wasn’t glaringly obvious that he could be a thief. Arriving at the apartment complex, it was impossible to notice a strange vehicle following her in, as all the vehicles except mine would be unfamiliar. With a plan to run in, pick up her child, and be on about her business, she left valuables in the car. What could happen in just a few minutes?
I’ve done the same thing way too many times out of sheer laziness. I don’t want to put out that little extra effort to carry one more thing…. I’ve been careless to leave valuable things unattended, unguarded, open to any unscrupulous individual who may want to damage my property. I have at times unintentionally set the stage for someone to steal from me.
This thief had no opportunity to do more than steal, as he followed her into an area where she would be surrounded by others who could come to her aid if he had intentions to do bodily harm. There is no way to know what his full intentions were, and while saddened for the difficulty this loss causes her, I am thankful for the protection of God over her life. It could have been much worse.
There is a thief that is watching us. He’s waiting for an opportunity to steal from us. If he can, he will do much more than just steal. He will try to kill and destroy us. He operates in a way that isn’t glaringly obvious. If we don’t know about him, he follows us undetected. He strikes quickly and stealthily, and before we know it he’s taken something valuable. He stalks, hoping to attack when there is no one to help. He laughs at the damage left in his wake.
He is familiar with our patterns and knows our weaknesses. He watches and waits for us to get lazy. He is a master of deception and presents himself as something good. Often we ignore that funny feeling that something is not exactly right, and we invite him in and entertain him. We get comfortable with him and begin to believe that he means no harm. But he’s still a thief, and just when we least expect it, he takes from us again while trying to make us believe it was God’s fault that something bad happened. There’s always a price to be paid when we give him access.
“The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy.” John 10:10
Jesus has given us insight into the strategies of this thief and made a way for us to recognize him, avoid allowing him access, and to defeat him! But we can’t be lazy about it. We have to pay attention.
“Leave no room or foothold for the devil – give no opportunity to him.” Ephesians 4:27
Ephesians 4:22-26 tells some of the ways we can guard ourselves:
- Strip yourselves of your former nature – put off and discard your old unrenewed self – which characterized our previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;
- Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind – having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude,
- Put on the new nature – the regenerate self – created in God’s image, in true righteousness and holiness
- Reject all falsity, and being done with it, let everyone express the truth…
- When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath last until the sun goes down
We think we can hold on to the old things, our own way of doing things, or our pet sins, and still have this wonderful, blessed life we read about and pray for. We delude ourselves. There is always a price to pay when we allow the thief access. There’s always damage. The image of freedom that he paints is a lie. It is really bondage. There is no peace with him.
I think of the subtle, crafty way he led me into very selfish choices that hurt my family. I was deceived into thinking that I could entertain doubt and fear, reason things out in my own mind, have my own way, and everything would be all right. It wasn’t.
There’s still grace and mercy and healing and hope when we fall, when we’ve entertained the enemy and gotten hurt and damaged. But wouldn’t it be so much better if we lived our lives proactively closing the door to the enemy before he got a shot at us??
Jesus paid a phenomenal price to make a way for us to live in victory, to be overcomers in this life!! He exhorted us to not neglect time with other believers because He knew we would be able to help each other. He promised to lead us into a blessed life, a life of peace and ultimate freedom.
“I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved, he will come in and he will go out freely, and will find pasture…..I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His own life for the sheep.” John 10:9, 11
It’s not about living a life of paranoia, fearful and afraid of the enemy’s attacks. It’s about paying attention to the Good Shepherd, following and obeying Him, trusting that He is able to take care of us. This is where we find true peace and freedom.
Public service announcement: Pay attention when you leave the bank. The officer that responded to the incident made us aware that it is not uncommon for thieves to be watching at a bank for those who leave, and follow them home. My daughter had just come from the bank.