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! Our only 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) we have in 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.