Halt, Thief!

Proverb 6: 31

But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold.

Restitution by a thief is what is being discussed in this passage. When the thief is discovered, he must repay seven times what he stole. There is an interesting connection from the New Testament. Jesus told us that “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy” (John 10: 10). Who is the thief? The devil, of course. He is the enemy of all who love Jesus and he would love to steal everything from you but you have the ability to stop him and even to make him repay seven times what he stole.

I wrote to you last week about how we are increasingly ignoring, or denying the existence of the devil and his minions. When we deny the existence and influence of Satan we begin to blame God for the bad things that happen. I find this tragic. Not only do we allow the devil to get off free when we hide in our denial but we don’t receive the restitution we are due. Worst of all, since we need someone to blame, we blame God. Obviously, these recriminations against God damage our relationship with Him. How can you have a close, trusting and loving relationship with someone you believe is doing you harm? Even if you try to justify the assumption that God is the one who is making bad things happen as His attempt to strengthen you, it will still destroy your relationship with Him.

I was exposed to this dangerous teaching like many of you were. I remember telling my basketball coach, “It’s too hard with God so I am going to have to be without Him.” I turned my back on God because people had me convinced that God was doing all these bad things to me. I sure wish someone had stood apart from the crowd and said, “Hey, that’s the devil who is evil doing those things, not God who is good.” I think I could have taken it from there and realized how foolish and broken my logic was.

I don’t know if people are just afraid of the devil so that is why they deny his existence or if he just has really good Public Relations people. None the less, our continual denial of his existence and his shenanigans is putting God, our beloved, right in the target sights. No one is throwing stones at Satan. They are all casting stones at God, the one who loved us so much that He sent His only child to die a horribly cruel death so that we might be saved. When you state it that way, it really defies logic but that is what so many of us do without really considering.

Look, you don’t have to be afraid of the devil. You’ve got Jesus and his victory. All you have to do is catch the thief. He has to pay back seven times if you will catch him instead of blaming God. God is the one who will make him pay restitution because He is a righteous God. There are any number of weapons Jesus has provided for you, all of them effective. Praise music, reading your Bible out loud to the devil (he loves that), giving money to a ministry (one of my personal favorites), prayer and more. Just remind the devil of the blood of Jesus. Figuratively, bathe your business, ministry or family in the blood. Dedicate everything in your life to Jesus, whatever the devil is torturing you with or messing with, see yourself go put it on Jesus’ altar. Then dare the devil to mess with it. Install Jesus as CEO, but really do it, not merely mouth the words. Let Jesus run your business for a couple of weeks and see if the devil doesn’t take his hands off of it.

Give over leadership of your family to Jesus. He never meant for you to be the leader of your family. That’s how it gets messed up. He wants to be head of the household. As long as you are, the devil is going to get in your stuff. Give it to Jesus. It really is his problem afterall, because he is the shepherd, not you. You are one of the flock.

Whatever area of your life is being challenged. Go put it on the altar and sprinkle Jesus blood on it. Remember, this is how Abraham became the Father of us all, by putting his son on the altar. Releasing control to Jesus is the quickest way (not the easiest mind) to get the devil out of it. Where ever there is the blood of Jesus, the devil will flee. He hates the Word, and he cannot bear even one drop of the blood.

I want you blessed and I am so tired of watching the devil steal from Christians. God has prepared a way for us and has given us all of the tools necessary. Put blame where it is due and make the devil pay; make him pay back seven times what he stole.

Debt Free

Romans 13: 8

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

This verse has often been used to teach people about financial debt. One substantial reading of this verse would say that we are not supposed to borrow money. That seems to be a fair reading but I think we can read it in a broader context as well. In order to see where I want us to go we need to read the verse which immediately precedes this one: “Render to all what is due them; tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (v. 7). We see immediately that Paul is not discussing money alone, nor is he writing about just repaying what has been borrowed or refraining from borrowing at all. He teaches us to give people what they are due whether that be money, honor, respect or even love. This is to say, then, that you could be debt free in the sense that you have borrowed no money and yet still guilty of withholding something that should have been paid to another. The only debt we are to carry forward is the daily obligation to love our fellow human beings. Look at today’s verse from the God’s Word translation, “Pay your debts as they come due. However, one debt you can never finish paying is the debt of love that you owe each other. The one who loves another person has fulfilled Moses’ Teachings.” We can never completely satisfy our obligation to love all people because it is new each day but interestingly, Paul writes that even the Law of Moses is fulfilled in loving one another.

I do not want to lose track of the bigger picture though. There are debts we owe people beyond the love requirement. Surely Paul is telling us that if we have borrowed money or things from others we should be hasty in paying back or returning. And when we have borrowed an item love and kindness both require us to return that item in a condition which at least equals if not surpasses the condition it was in when we borrowed it. For goodness sake, wash the item, if a car, then fill the gas tank. If money was what was borrowed then deny yourself if need be and repay the money with appropriate interest. If you haven’t paid your tithes then be quick to pay that debt. Don’t allow yourself to owe a debt to God. He calls that stealing (Malachi 3: 8) and we don’t want to steal from God. That surely would reflect a scarcity of wisdom. 

If you have a mentor, pastor, teacher or even a friend who is constantly giving into your life, then make sure you render unto them that which is due them. A gift wouldn’t go amiss. Let us not lose sight of the intangibles either. We are meant to support and encourage each other. We are called to edify one another. Give honor and thanksgiving. Let people know you appreciate them and give them their due.