Several years ago, while I was pastoring in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, a thief smashed my driver’s side window while I was in the office only ten feet away and stole my new cell phone. It was devastating when I came out and discovered shattered glass inside my car and on the ground. How could such a thing happen on church grounds, God’s property? But unfortunately, it happens all the time.
Jesus used a similar illustration to point out the physical and spiritual application of stealing when He told His disciples, The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in fullness (John 10:10). Our Lord compared Satan’s tactics to His. Under normal circumstances, we would take safety precautions if we knew we lived among thieves. So, consider your physical and spiritual life. Has the enemy destroyed or stolen something from you? We could list several things he’s robbed Christians of, such as:
- Children’s futures
- Peace of mind
So, what can we do to protect the Lord’s territory? The enemy loves to use our emotions against us. However, the Apostle Peter provides us with a warning about protection. He says, “Be careful – watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for victims to tear apart” (1 Peter 5:8). At the same time, our lack of spiritual knowledge, faith, or trust; the enemy is robbing us blind! Isn’t it time we take a stand and start guarding the territory God gave us? The Lord is ready to help.
Here are two ways we can protect ourselves when it comes to our physical and spiritual health:
Internal Protection: This is the area where Christians often fail to protect themselves. They allow the enemy to sow lying thoughts in their hearts and minds and let them grow. “Lying” thoughts are any pattern of thinking that contradicts God’s Word. Thus, when we don’t take the time to find out what God’s Word says and implement it, then all we have is what the devil tells us. That is worldly programming. Many Christians walk with the enemy daily without even knowing it. And, of course, the devil is happy to keep them close so he can keep on stealing!
A good question is: “Where are these thoughts taking me?” Some thoughts lead us where we don’t want to go! The enemy can deceive us into becoming close friends with those who live in spiritual darkness. It can easily start a spiritual battle against the devil ruling our hearts and minds. The Apostle Paul gives this guidance: We do not arm ourselves with human weapons. Our weapons have power from God and can destroy the enemy’s most potent arguments. Thus, we destroy worldly people’s arguments and tear down every proud idea that raises itself against what we know about God. We also take every sophisticated thought and make them prisoners until they give up and obey the Anointed One.
The Apostle Paul again comes to our rescue by letting us know, don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how His ways will satisfy you (Romans 12:2). So, this is the main work we all must do to take back what the devil is stealing from us. Do not remain in bondage to negative thinking and mental strongholds. Remember, the Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. On the contrary, His Spirit is a source of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
External protection: Next, assess your environment to see who you keep close company with. Here’s a simple guideline: Stay close to friends who help you do good; keep away from those who lead you to do wrong. That doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to talk to or even be kind to them. Remember, God’s Love-law includes everyone. Don’t blame God for not removing the temptation when you copy their lifestyle.
Here’s a question: Let’s say you have a known thief in your neighborhood. Would you leave the door unlocked so he could invade your house while you were at work or asleep and steal what he wanted? Of course not! Or would you expect the Lord to come down from heaven and shut the door for you? Let’s hope not – otherwise, you’d be waiting a long time! You see, the Lord gives us wisdom on what to do. Our responsibility is to do what the Lord says.
I am sure the Lord had a way of alerting you to take control of your sinful tendencies because they were leading you into a trap. But here’s an uncomfortable truth; sometimes, people want to have an affair with the enemy while married to Jesus! They want to leave the door open just a crack so the enemy can sneak in for what they think will be a short midnight visit. But the enemy does not work like that. He will eventually take it all if given an inch, like untended erosion!
In some cases, believers want to remain close to their worldly friends, hoping their friendship will eventually lead them to the Lord and salvation. But, in reality, they are leaving open the option to enjoy some of the things they did with them. Therefore, it is wise to keep temptation as far away as possible without becoming antisocial. To do this, you must be ready to confront the real reason behind the desire. Ask yourself: “What do I fear will happen if I don’t keep worldly friends close to me?” If you are unsure what specific internal and external protections you need to put in place, seek the Lord in prayer about it. Ask Him for wisdom. Contact a spiritual friend or minister for counseling. You might find they’ve been through what you’re going through now and share what they learned by following Biblical Principals.
Seek Him with all your heart. Your heart is the “Holy of Holies” in your physical and spiritual temple. The Lord is your best defense because He is committed to seeing you finish well. He wants you to walk in freedom in Him, not in bondage to anything. So don’t worry; God will do His part in securing your protection.
Inspired by an article on dieting by Kimberly Taylor: Christian therapist for living fit, healthy, and empowered in Christ.
Wow! How insightful!
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