UV 1710/10000 The Threats and the Promise
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10 v 10
In this uni-verse, Jesus dealt with both the threats and promise of our lives. The enemy of our soul is the ultimate thief. He wants to take that which does not belong to him. He operates by extreme deceit, stealth, surprise, secrecy, cunning and ruthlessness in orchestrating pre-meditated or targeted attacks on people. There are different degrees or levels at which the enemy works. He is a thief who steals the peace of individuals and homes. He attacks the unity of homes and the sanctity of marriages. He is a robber who robs from the life of people who are not wary of his intentions. A robber is one who is willing to inflict violence and physical harm to achieve his goal of stealing. He is a ruthless and bloodthirsty murderer. He can manifest in our thoughts, words and actions or reactions. Lucifer got this kind of nature as he tried to rob God of His glory. He delights in taking people off the straight and narrow path. He promotes strife and contention everywhere. We need to set up mental and spiritual alarms for this thief, robber and murderer. We need to take steps to deter the robber and protect ourselves from the killer by wearing the full armour of faith. We need to be watchful and prayerful for ourselves and our loved ones. He is like a deadly bird of prey who will swoop down on the young ones. He enjoys destroying the potential of the chosen ones of the Lord. He motivates people to make their own plans of wrongful gain. He even makes plans to cause the untimely end of people by sending the spirit of murder, suicide and mass terror upon individuals and groups. He enters our souls, our homes, our relationships, our lives without our knowledge or consent. He gains that opportunity often when we are careless and leave the front or rear door open. Sometimes, he prises open and forces his way into our lives. The fallen one delights in making as many as possible fall like him. The greater the score the better for he feels he is winning against the Lord. The fallen one has many former angels as his agents now in aiding him in his world-wide mission.
Jesus in contrast to the enemy of our souls befriends us. He desires to protect us from the attacks of the enemy. He prayed for His disciples and followers, “ Father,… deliver us from evil.” He also prayed that none of them be lost. Jesus came to enable us to live the eternal and abundant life- a life abundant in peace, joy, love, faith, kindness, humility, wisdom, self control and patience. He left the Holy Spirit with us to enable us to grow such fruit in our lives. In contrast to the enemy who constantly attempts to rival and undo the work of Jesus, Jesus focusses on shepherding the faithful on paths of righteousness, safely guiding them across perilous heights, leading them from one green pasture to another in life’s journey, to still waters where they can drink to their heart’s fill. He ensures they get enough food, drink and rest. He watches over them when they are sleeping and wards off the evil one. When a believer gets lost, falls or gets hurt, Jesus goes after that sheep and does all He can to restore him or her.
We need to decrease our exposure to risks of attacks by the enemy of our souls and stay in close proximity to Jesus. When we stray away from Jesus, the possibility and intensity of attacks will increase. The enemy often uses our own words, our beliefs, our habits and actions, our own decisions and choices, our own desires and hidden lust to enter and take control of our lives. Like in all systems, we need to set up different levels of security to deal with all these insidious threats to our peace, health, well being and eternity. We can defend ourselves with the Word. We need to take every thought and word captive to Christ. We need to pray proactively and tap into the power of prophylactic prayer to prevent and pre-empt the enemy. Jesus referred to the enemy as strong. Hence, we should never underestimate his strength and prowess or our vulnerability at any point in life. We need to bind and break the power of the strong one with the help of the stronger authority, power and grace that Jesus has vested in us. Jesus defeated every weapon and temptation that the enemy threw at him. He ultimately defeated sin, curses and death in His death on the cross and in His resurrection. We need to claim our victory too against the entire arsenal and wily schemes of the enemy through our faith in Jesus, the power of His name, the power of His blood, the power of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to stay close to the Good Shepherd, stay with the flock, follow the voice of the Shepherd and ignore the other voices – of others, of the world and of the deceitful one or his agents.
Prateep V Philip