“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10 NLT) Boone was my first dog, a chocolate lab my parents gave me, right after I finished school. To help me manage him and because I had no idea how to train him, we sent Boone off to be trained. The trainer taught Boone how to behave, and then he taught me how to be his master. I had to learn, when Boone was going to disobey, it wasn’t blatant in your face disobedience. I’d tell him to sit and he would sit, but not straight. He’d slouch. As I worked with Boone, he would test me, to see if he could get away with a little less than obedience. I had reminders for him, like tapping his paw with my foot, which let him know I was watching and expected him to obey. In time, I never had to reinforce our roles, but I’ll never forget Boone’s sly little challenges to determine who was in charge.
When the thief comes in to our lives; he doesn’t come in a full frontal assault on our lives or faith. He’s sly, like Boone, twisting the truth a little to appear right, but get us slightly off course. Ultimately, he wants to lead us to an entirely different destination. What starts out as a slight difference, unchecked, becomes a great chasm over time.
The greatest tragedy in this verse for me isn’t necessarily the death and destruction. It’s having the rich and satisfying life stolen by the thief. JESUS describes the devil as the father of lies. From the beginning, as the serpent speaking to Eve, he came to us twisting truth.
For instance, when we spend time in GOD’s Word, we begin to understand HIS character; we learn GOD’s promises, how much HE loves us and begin to grow closer to HIM. All of the things you and I want to know:
- is there really a GOD?
- am I significant?
- was I born with a purpose?
- does HE see me and care about me?
- do I have what it takes to lead my family?
Every one of those questions is answered in GOD’s Word. GOD HIMSELF begins to speak to us through HIS Word. Verses we read begin to relate to our circumstances and questions we have about the things we are considering. HIS Word comes alive and speaks deeply to us.
In response, the evil one won’t necessarily work to convince us GOD”s Word isn’t true, but he’ll begin to offer other opportunities for us. Fun things, even good things, to make us so busy and tired it becomes a struggle to spend time with GOD, in HIS Word. The devil will “steal” this sacred time.
The evil one understands the transforming power of GOD and so he will try to steal your time with The Creator. And he will steal your peace and he will steal your joy. He cannot offer you anything of significant value, but he can take every bit of it away. We have to choose, to persist, and seek GOD in all circumstances. When we spend time in HIS Presence, we enjoy HIS rich and satisfying life. And nothing in this world compares to what GOD has for us.