Scripture reference: John 10:10:
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.
In John chapter 10, the Messiah describes to the people in his audience the benefits of His relationship to them as a shepherd who brings healing and salvation in this life, which ultimately improves the quality of life on this earth. And by the Messiah’s shepherding, believers will never follow strangers whop prey on them to doubt His love, care and plan for their lives.
Who is the thief in this passage? In the Greek the word is kleptes(Strong’s 2812). It is where we get the word kleptomaniac. A thief is anything or anyone who steals by means of clandestine deception. Kleptesalso applies to false teachers of the Word. There is another form of word thief and the Greek word islestes,but that kind of thief is one who robs with the intent to plunder and to audaciously snatch what they want from another. However, the thief the Messiah speaks about in John 10:10 is not the in your face thief. Since a thief could be a false Bible teacher or anything that robs you and keeps you from living a life of abundance, it is important to identify the thieves in our lives. Of course evil spiritual forces operate in the arena of deception to steal, kill and destroy lives. But believers are supposed to understand how these entities work in the busyness of life.
Although John 10:10 does not apply directly to Satan, we could perhaps figuratively, spiritually or indirectly apply his motives as something that steals, kills and destroys. If we look at the evil one as a thief, it would seem his plan in the lives of people is to destroy God’s dream for them. To do this, he would have to deceptively plot negative events to run their destiny off the road of success. If you don’t think acts of deceptive thievery are in play in our world, let’s go back to the first century and consider what the Messiah went through early in his life. His parents, Joseph and Mary knew about of King Herod who wanted to stop the prophecy of Christs’ birth by a planned coup d’état against Yahweh to murder the Son of Man and the Messiah before his birth. But often in the spiritual underworld where plots and weapons of destruction are formed, there is one strategic element that is overlooked and that is the God factor. The evil ones plan failed because Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with Yeshua (Jesus) through divine guidance. And when Herod could not find the Messiah, he ordered the slaughter of every male child two years and under in Bethlehem (Mat. 2:1-18).
Every human being comes to this world from the womb with promise and potential. It is at this stage when the thief begins the process of planning to disrupt God’s dream for that young infant’s life. Let me make this more personal using an instance from my life. In 1959, I weighed only 3 pounds at birth. Pre-mature at birth, it was the plot of the enemy to sabotage and snuff out my life so God’s dream of being a writer would never happen. Though the odds against were against my survival as a preemie, I lived and published two books. Though I always struggled with writing, I sat paralyzed for years before I ever launched into writing my first book. If I didn’t survive pre-mature birth or negative opinions about my writing, people would not be reading this book today. And so it appears the God factor is still at work in my life. When a thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, you may not recognize it at first because thieves are professional at cloaking their intentions. Things in life can rob you of your life’s purpose. Drug and alcohol abuse, depression, divorce, and people who suck the life out of you should be regarded as stealers, killers and destroyers that hinder God’s plan. We need purposeful contributors in our lives and not people who are vampire life associations who rob us of abundant living.
Spiritually speaking, many attacks that come in our lives from untoward forces are designed to delay, disrupt and distract us until we give up on the dreams we have for life. The insidious actions of the thief always operate incognito. However, the thief that is exposed in John 10:10 is the false religious doctrinal teachings specifically and that which robs generally and prevents anyone from having an abundant life. For example, there are countless numbers of people in careers, professions and jobs who neither want nor like their paths in life and want to change direction. Many people are clueless about what God has placed inside them and that leads to missed opportunities and appointments with destiny, lost dreams, and unrealized talents and gifts that could change the world. And although many gifted and talented people sit in church pews across the country on Sundays listening to unscriptural sermons and religious dogma, God’s dream and purpose dies on the alters of the traditions of men. Am I saying that denominational tradition can be a thief? The answer is a resounding yes. For the African American church, its mission is not what it used to be. The relevance of the black church is diminishing with new generations. As many generations of talent and gifts have gone unused, the black church at large has basically suffered financially because of idol talents and gifts that went undiscovered and could have brought financial relief to struggling churches. Of course this would not apply to the anomaly of the mega church. But I digress.
When the thief throws disappointment in your way, take it by the horns and cremate it but don’t embalm it, because you want to leave no opportunity to go back and exhume what is dead and gone. Don’t allow the discouragement thief to get the best of you because even the sun has a sinking spell every night, but it rises again in the morning. If the despair thief comes to pour cold water on your dreams, remember what Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:8 “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;…”(NKJV). Doubt is a thief that sees the obstacles but faith is the countermeasure that sees the way through. Doubt dreads to take the first step, but faith takes a step and sours high. Doubt questions but faith will answer I can. There is no doubt the thief will come with distraction to stop your abundance, but your response is to ignore the distraction and to proceed with purposeful action of God’s plan.
When God’s dream dies within untapped people who are aspiring, artists, poets, dancers, architects, singers and inventers because of a lack of understanding that their talents will not grow without encouragement, support and confidence, they may never pursue the promise birthed in their heart. People need pushing into their purposed place and if there is no motivation, talents and gifts won’t flourish.
But suppose for a moment that in life, someone alerted us to the impending actions of a thief. We would prepare and have a plan to foil any action a thief would perpetrate. In the text, the Messiah thought it was necessary to put the word on the street about the intentions of the thief at all levels of life spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically and theologically. Why is being aware of the thief important? For one, it does not feel good if you have been a victim of a robber in any capacity. Further, thievery perpetrated against anyone causes a setback, a delay or sometimes a permanent unrecoverable loss, but not in perpetuity because recovery is possible for everyone victimized by thievery.
While aiming for purpose and destiny, it’s important to not remain ignorant about how anything in your life can become a thief to your progress and destiny. Never allow defeat, failure, struggle, discontentment, low self-esteem, fear, hurt any sin to become a weapon of mass destruction to kill, steal or destroy your life’s goals. Follow Apostle Paul’s mantra in Ephesian 3:20, “Now to him Jesus) who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, accordingly to the power that works in us.” Keep your eyes on the promise and the prize knowing that you are heading toward destiny and have the power and the ability to launch a tactical, strategic revolt against any thief the comes to steal, kill and destroy God’s dream for your life. Stay focused and no thief can ever smoke out God’s plan.
The winning plan is having forewarning and foreknowledge of God’s plan and that is the key to exposing the thieves so you can evict them from your life. And be mindful that anyone or anything can be a thief that steals abundance from your life and turns it into a junkyard of broken dreams. If anything in your life feels like something is being taken and nothing seems to return, you might have a thief in the midst. Your response is to wake up and kick out the cat burglar. Tell the flimflam artist the con is over. Interrupt the pilferer and put an end to riffling through your life. Cast out the thief by making a decision to never stop fighting for your right to pursue life, liberty and justice.
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