Written by David Malinzi – Wairaka, Jinja, Uganda, Africa
“A thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I come to give life that is full and good.” (John 10:10)
A thief takes other people’s property secretly without the owner’s knowledge.
Thieves are hated and when caught may be beaten, imprisoned, or made to pay restitution, or even sometimes, in cases of mob justice – they have been killed. The thief in this context is the Devil, also known as Satan or Lucifer. He was once among the three major angels in charge of praise and worship in Heaven. Now that he has fallen from God’s grace, his scheme for mankind is to block our salvation through stealing God’s life principles for us, trying to kill people physically or spiritually:
1. Satan is a Thief:
(a) Prayer is stolen.
In his daily efforts to disconnect people from God, Satan steals our time, interest, and love. The Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17), yet Satan tries to distract us from living prayerful lives.
Jesus demonstrated that praying is , vital for spiritual life. He prayed daily – day and night. When we stop praying, it is like /refusing to talk with a spouse or friend – we stop communicating with our Heavenly Father.
(b) The tithes are stolen.
Satan has stolen the belief in tithing from many Christians. Many try to reason that their financial budgets couldn’t support tithing, and that tithing is just an Old Testament teaching for past generations. Yet, when Satan lulls us into not tithing, God views us as robbers and disobedient and thus we are living cursed lives (Malachi 3:9). A person living under God’s curse is doomed to be miserable and their spiritual lives will never grow until they obey this fundamental command to tithe.
(c) The Bible is not read purposefully.
Satan is continually persuading believers to not read or try to understand the Bible. Some read it only on Sundays while in church services. During the week, Satan cleverly preoccupies us with earthly activities and we do not have time for the Word of God. The Word of God is our spiritual food; that is why Jesus said man shall not live only on food but from every word from God. (Matthew 4:4). In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible tells us that all Scripture is useful for teaching and equipping us. Thus believers who do not have an appetite for God’s ord are spiritually malnourished, eventually leading to spiritual death.
(d) Faith is stolen.
When we become believers, we are expected to have faith in our God the Father, and Jesus, His Son. The same kind of faith our forefathers had. That by faith: Abel offered God a better sacrifice, Enoch was taken from his life, and Abraham went to a foreign nation (Hebrews 11). Today, believers seem to have more faith in scientific theories, discoveries, and our own wealth and knowledge. By allowing us to think that any accomplishments are ours, Satan steals from us the wisdom that knows all gifts are given by God. (e.g. 68:18, James 1:17)
(e) Love is stolen.
By stealing our time for prayer, our obedience in tithing, our interest in Bible reading, and our childlike faith, the devil strikes at the base of all our Christianity: our love for God as our Heavenly Father, Creator and Friend. Not only our love for God, but as we have become consumed in our own abilities, knowledge, and all the technologies of this modern world, Satan has come like a thief in the night to steal our love for our fellow men. God’s word, so often neglected, emphasizes that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves but without loving God first, our interests become more self-serving. Instead of loving others so much, that we would be willing to lay down our lives in service and compassion, we instead become envious of other’s progress, corrupt in our dealings, and unkind to others.
Two examples of this:
Many doctors in developing nations live while their patients die primarily because patients do not have the means to bribe them. Without their greed being fulfilled, many doctors lose interest in their ethical duty.
In Uganda for example, the national motto says, “For God and my country,” but many people have turned it into a slogan, “For God and my stomach” due to immoral and unethical greed
As a result of Satan’s sneaking in to our lives and robbing us of the joy of obedient Christianity, believers can all too quickly find their lives full of worries, disobedient to God in tithing and in other areas of their lives, and all too soon engulfed with a sickly love of the world’s standards.
2. The Devil is a Killer:
Satan enjoys seeing non-believers die because he knows that they have lost all chance of confessing salvation. He works hard to kill believers spiritually so that they backslide and do not join Jesus in paradise. In 2 Kings 3:27, we find an example of the brutal ritual of pagan human sacrifice. A lot of murders are as a result of Satan’s influence. Even today, here in Uganda, many societies believe in and have tribal and family demons. It is thought that each demon is ‘assigned’ specific duties. Isejja deforms human limbs to make them lame, Ebitegga attacks people and makes them anemic, so they later die despite blood transfusions in the hospitals, mijin strangles people to death. It is really only when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and through His power, that a born again Christian can be protected from being possessed to do evil.
Wars and civil wars are common in Uganda and elsewhere. A lot of people lose their lives as Satan creates enmity between groups.
The Devil kills spiritually:
If Christians disobey God’s principles, continue to go to church, the warning from Jesus in Revelations 3:1 “I know your deed, you have a reputation of being alive but you are dead,” applies to them and they are spiritually dead. When the lives of believers fall below spiritual standards of holiness, they do not realize that then, they are tempted to become hypocrites like ported in Matthew 23:28 when Jesus warned:. “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
3. The Devil is a Destroyer.
Sometimes, the devil uses sickness to destroy our bodies. Some are deformed due to polio, some have acute ulcers, and some live in tremendous pain. Some women have been tormented by being barren. Some women are barren due to biological issues, but tragically, others have become barren due to the devil’s lie called abortion. Satan loves to destroy marriages, for he knows it is the solid foundation of a culture. Couples that begin with love often end up with divorce, The devil is not happy with united families because that leads to united churches.
Satan has also destroyed many people through alcohol,cigarette smoking, and other addictions. Many elites have been fooled into becoming addicted to alcohol because they think having a drink is the “proper” thing to do in society. Satan also deceives people into thinking that when one takes alcohol it will be an easy way to forget one’s troubles in life, but that is one of many of his lies.
In conclusion, dear brethrens, let us keep watch and monitor closely the devil’s schemes that can deter us from joining the fellowship in paradise. Let us be in constant battles against the devil by being the soldiers of the Lord as Paul wrote to the Ephesians 6 .10. Putting on the whole armor of God to protect us from Satan – who is a thief, killer and destroyer.