John 10:10a, highlights the tactics the devil impores in an attempt to achieve his aim. The tactics are, “to steal, kill and destroy” but, we are not to let him succeed 1 Pet 5:8- 9NLT. However, if we are honest, he succeeds often times with his mischief concerning the things we own that are temporal or perishable e.g., ill health, death of our loved ones, divorces, failures of various kinds etc. The boat Paul the Apostle was travelling in was destroyed Acts 27:22 and eventually he was killed by the hands of wicked people as were Peter, Stephen and others. But, these things are not what matters the most in believers lives. He steals, and kills and destroys but, see Matt 10:28NLT.
What does the devil really intend to achieve by stealing, killing and destroying given that believers in Christ are admonished in the scriptures to hold loosely (not carelessly) to perishable things including their mortal life? Mark 8:35, Luke 12:15, 17:33. The rendition of these passages ties our earthly possessions to our mortal lives—that’s to say, they’re intertwined. It’s somewhat scary when examined closely. It means that, no matter how much we read the bible, fast and pray, the loss of material possessions can affect our mortal lives to the extent of threatening our incorruptible life if we’ve not been detached from them in our souls! This intertwinement sheds light on why we must surrender our earthly possessions at God’s feet just as we’ve done with our lives; and bless Him as we’re prompted in our hearts. All our earthly possessions are gotten with the life and grace he has given to us and the Spirit of grace is the spirit of generosity.
Therefore, the more grace we get, the more our minds are circumcised, renewed and devoted—resulting to us becoming more generous (more willing to and actually parting with temporal things whether with joy or pain). And we can be at peace even when the devil steals from us. So, the worship of God involves not just giving of ourselves but also, our time, money or produce (fruit of our labour). Those who practice the Old Testament now, give as those under the law (their choice) while those in the New Testament now, give as those under grace.
To scripturally answer the question as to the aim of the devil in destroying the perishable possessions of believers, we need to contrast it with the core of what Jesus came to give to those who will believe in Him—see John 10:10b. We recognize that he also destroys the possessions of those who’re not believers. He does it in order to keep them blinded, unconcerned about their souls, occupied only with the affairs of this present life and possibly grieve their spirit to force them to exhibit his nature of cruelty, bitterness, hatred, and jealousy towards others. And even murder and suicide. Also, to prompt them to worship him for protection—unwise move! Seeking protection from the one whose nature is to steal, kill and destroy.
But, for believers, much more than trying to resurrect their sinful desires which belonged to their Old nature Eph 2:3 that has died and buried with Christ, he seeks to rob them of the very Life of Christ which is their hope of glory 1 Col 1:27.
While it is indisputable that God protects the life and possessions of believers Job 1:10, we know that their properties can be destroyed and they can even be killed irrespective of them having received life in abundance from Christ Jesus. When this happens, God does not consider it that the devil has accomplished anything significant and this should be the attitude of all who believe in the gospel. This is the maturity God is calling all believers to!
The thing that is valuable in a believer’s life in God’s sight is what the devil is targeting by coming to steal, kill and destroy. And it’s the Life, yes; the abundant life of God that Christ came to give man.
Job’s story sheds light on this. Unfortunately, to Job’s wife, like many of us today, she equated “God’s life” in her husband as a mere thing not worth fighting for with all he has got and even with his very own life Job 2:9. Everyone who shares in Job’s wife’s low view of God’s life will have nothing but empty or fair weather Christianity which is rampant today! The devil seems to know the value of this “Treasure of God” in us better than many of us. And if this remains the case, our worship will remain a mere religion which is earth bound 1 Cor 15:19. This explains the attractive prosperity false gospel derailing multitudes today!
The devil wanted to use stealing, killing and destroying of Job’s physical possessions and his temporal body to reach his immortal life or Faith (life of God) in him. And, the devil has not changed his tactics and will not! Ouronly safeguard is to love Christ above all else Matt 10:37-38.
So, how much value do YOU place on this “Treasure” you’ve freely received? Eph 2:8, 2 Cor 4:7. Hold your answer in your heart with great humility and if there is need to repent, let us do so and go to the throne of grace with a fresh determination to bear His yoke and enjoy His light. We need to constantly remind ourselves that, though our salvation has been freely given, its cost to God is staggering—He paid for you and me with His blood. In economics, we say, “The cost of a thing indicates its value” Selah!
If indeed, you have the Treasure (Christ), remain or abide in and with Him no matter what comes your way. The Faith is not for getting things though He gives us things— His core purpose is to secure and lead we believers back safely to our creator. But, be aware! Some will fail to return back home (Heaven) but will lose their way or stray away and end in the prison designed for Satan and his cohorts. God preserves but we must persevere to the end of our mortal lives or till Christ’s return. The grace has been given to all believers and more is readily available at His throne of mercy and grace for when we’re in need.
So, no one should dare treat God like a rag because of their belief in “once saved, forever saved.” Satan entered Judas at some point John 13:27 and if you think it’s an isolated case, note that he also entered Ananias at some point Acts 5:3 and read carefully 1 Tim 5:11-12 & 15. These people mentioned, were they not believers in Christ?
This whole journey of salvation starts as a gift and will end only as a gift.
But, as a people given a gift, if only we’ll treasure Him as nearly as we carefully treasure our temporal lives and possessions, His abundant life will stop being just something to read in the pages of His book (bible) but, indeed, it’ll be His rich life to be tasted. It is in understanding and participating or experiencing all the good things (imperishable and invisible divine nature) wehavein Christ that we come to place Him in the highest place in our lives Philemon 1:6NLT. In it, we become immovable and always abounding in His work wherever we are.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” Rev 3:22, Isa 55:1-13.
Persevere and hold on to the faith till the end! Heb 12:2NLT.
There are so many battles going on in the earth today — battles between continents, nations, families, religions and individuals. It’s getting more intense than ever before and destroying countless human lives. The financial strain and stress like other hash afflictions is biting deeper into the center of the heart of MANY and expressing itself in their negative worldview.
Sufferings are revealing the type of treasure hidden in the heart of all human beings (Matt 12:35). It has power to disunite one’s heart— no wonder, David screamed “unite my heart to fear your name” (Ps 86:11) — this should be our cry to the Lord today.
Suffering stirs battles within the human mind. And the battle of the end times is predicted by scripture to be fiercer within the soul of those who profess Christ because, evil spirits whose end is destruction by God has come.
There has never been any time in the history of the Church that carnal minded men have swayed the people of God as much as in these times we live in. The present depressing news in the world is awakening man to the fact that we are not really in control of the world as we childishly think often times. If you are in Christ, you are blessed because you have a lively hope but please be careful that no one exploits your seeking after God to make prey of you.
Chalatants have gone out to deceive many! But as always, God clearly calls His sheep to hear, love and follow Him above all other things when His word is properly trumpeted.
Praise God for the weapon He has given all who take refuge in Christ Jesus Eph 6:10-14, 2 Cor 6:7, 10:4. The time to display openly for all to see and know that Jesus Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Lord of lords, King of kings and Prince of peace has come closer than ever before and as such, the branches that abide in Him are going to yield all their fruit to full measure and those that abide not are going to be bundled in preparation to be burnt. Indeed, creation will see not only the glory of God which is Christ but also the manifestation that God truly delivered His remnants as sons.
Will God speak and will He not bring to pass all He has spoken Matt 5:18.
1 Timothy 4:1, clarifies that wickedness will be wide spread because of the activities of demon spirits in people’s souls and their love will grow cold towards God. This unfortunate situation will prepare the soul of many to yield a full measure of evil that represents the image of the beast (2 Tim 3:2-8). At the time these activities intensifies to its apex, many more will respond in reaction to the image of the beast and fall prey because they took their eyes (heart, soul and body) away from the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus who is the author and finisher of His stature in the sons of God.
Looking Unto Jesus Still
Let’s look at Heb 12:2, we notice the admonition to presently and continuously fix our eyes on Jesus.
First point is this: If before now you looked up to anything in addition to Christ, take away the addition and now look only to Jesus.
Second point: Identify and acknowledge that our Faith speaks of the salvation and redemption God has given us and is giving in Christ and not some tool for visualizing and claiming things.
Third point: Identify and acknowledge that there is a JOY that accompanies our salvation enjoyed only dimly now but has an immeasurable measure awaiting those who will overcome.
Fourth point: Identify, acknowledge and participate in enduring the cross (yoke-burden) of Christ which involves a lot of shame. It entails valuing the things that are not as if they are! It involves living well and strong in the kingdom of God that is not apparent.
Finally, it means trusting only in Jesus as the author (giver) and finisher (completer) of this great and wonderful salvation.
Exhibiting Christ Stature
It will increasingly become difficult to exhibit the character, image or stature of Christ in this end time when the image of the beast (spirit and life of Satan) will be more rampantly expressed especially among those whom it was least expected as those professing Christ. Because of this falling away, it will cause greater temptation to others if they fail to depend on the Holy Spirit Who leads us to the throne of grace to pray.
Let us turn our attention intently to Jude chapter 1 while keeping in mind the exhortation in (Heb 12:2). In Jude 1:21a, we read these heartwarming words “Keep yourselves in the love of God” this statement quickly calls to mind the exhortation and admonition in 1 John 4:7-8, which is the greatest description and expression of who God is in character, image or stature. And that is the sum total of who God want His Son’s (Christ) bride- YOU and I to be.
How Do We Keep Constant in the Love of God?
Again we read in Jude 1:21b, -wait, waiting, awaiting or looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Reading that takes the mind to the invitation of the Holy Spirit in (Heb 4:16). Jude makes it clear that it is not just a futuristic call but a call to be practiced as a life style now. This Life style of waiting in season and out of season is in anticipation of the mercy of Jesus. Heb 4:16 tells us that this only occurs at the throne of grace where our High priest forever after the order of Melchizedek has already prevailed for us (THE CHURCH). Therefore, the persuasion of the Spirit that we pray at all times and under all circumstances without ceasing makes more sense to those who are yielding to the admonition to keep oneself in the love of God. The revelation that mercy and grace is the mechanism that sustains in the love of God should make us reach out to the grace room of God through individual and corporate prayers more now than ever before.
We see David described as a man after God’s own heart proclaiming and speaking to his own soul in Ps 62:5 “my expectation or hope is in you alone”– what hope could he be speaking about but the hope of his salvation (Ps 62:1) which is now this gift we are enjoying in Christ Jesus our Lord to whom be praise forever more. Amen
The Spirit exhorts the body of Christ with wise counsel in Isaiah 40:31 and Rev 12:14 amplifies the truth that God who have loved and promised to save a remnant to Himself will do it without fail. But we must wait in the place of His grace that we may not fall short of it because its what ensures our possession of eternal life in Christ.
Expressing His love in this intensifying Evil Times
Making our calling and election sure: Will you and I obey the following scripture in
Galatians 6:10a, “as we have opportunity”. This will mean as the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus instructs you and I to do good to anyone in diverse occasions. We are not under the law of commandments of sin and death. So, we are not bound by expectations of others and their conception of wrong and right but the Holy Spirit guides and instructs all who are in Christ by the written word in the bible.
Galatians 6:10b, “Do good to all men” includes without excuses our enemies (Matt 5:44).
Galatians 6:10c, “and especially to those of the household of faith”. Household of faith is not speaking of those who belong to our denominational firms. It means all those who are in Christ and walk in Christ expressing the life of Christ in holy living and love. It means those with whom we fellowship in spirit and truth (1 John 1:7). Therefore, if the Lord establishes that someone is His child in our hearts, we must not discriminate against him or her because they don’t camp with us (Mark 9:38-40)
Let us conclude by hearing our Lord Himself exhort us. To do that, we turn to (Mark 9:49-50) and it reads “For everyone will be tested with fire. Salt is good for seasoning, but if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.”
The gift of our salvation is not a cheap one – Jesus paid the price. Salt (The life of Christ in man) was given because Jesus Christ paid the price. Salt cannot make its self salty therefore; persevere in your saltiness wherein you have been salted. Let NO ONE deceive you with empty philosophy. Evil communication (hearkening to false doctrine) deteriorates and removes the saltiness of the salt.
We are in the time when men will look back (turn against Christ) because they have squirrel eyes instead of the single eye that looks forward unto Jesus alone. As the Lord is with all His precious ones at these times, may the precious ones increase in desire to be with Him always (Luke 9:62, Deut 6:5)