“The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
I have heard this verse, and have read it myself, several times over, but it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I fully grasped what it is saying. For some reason, in the past, my ears have failed to hear and my eyes have failed to read the word “only” – and, to be honest, I think it’s a big word to miss.
Let me start with a story…
My first job out of college was working as a Project Coordinator for a Seattle-based marketing company. I learned lots of fun (and not-so-fun things) while working there, but one of my favorite moments of each day was when the FedEx guy would walk into my office and update me on his life. Each day, David would come through the door, walk up to my desk, put down the packages he was delivering, hand me the tablet to sign, and then fill me in on everything that happened since he had left the day before.He was always energetic and, was therefore, entertaining to listen to. From camping trips with his daughter to date nights with his girlfriend, he was always up to something.
What’s my point here?
As fun as talking with David was, the truth is, we were only friends because he brought packages to the company I worked for. David’s ONLY job was to bring me boxes, and my ONLY job with him was to sign for them. He was assigned the duty of delivery, and I was assigned the duty of receiving. That’s it.
What’s my real point here?
John 10:10 says that the enemy’s ONLY objective is to steal, kill and destroy. That’s his mission statement. His goal each day is to rob us of life. That’s it. That’s all he does. He isn’t trying to do anything else. In fact, he can’t do anything else because he’s that evil. He ONLY steals, kills and destroys.
As I meditated on this, I thought about how I’ve seen the enemy attempt to steal life from me. He’s crafty (Genesis 3:1) and he seeks to destroy (1 Peter 5:8). He sees my desire to follow the Lord, and he wants to stop me. He wants to take life from me – and he wants me to lose. He wants failure for me. Why? Because he doesn’t want God to get glory. He wants the fame – and he fights to get it. The enemy wants my mind, my heart, and my life – and he wants yours, too.
Intense? Totally! Scary? If you’re a believer, no.
The Word says there is confidence and security in Christ: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). Satan, the enemy, longs to destroy us. He wants to kill us…slowly…and in the most miserable way. Jesus, our Savior, wants to give us life, and He won’t give us up. We find ourselves being fought for. We find ourselves in a battle.
There have been times in my life where I have crumbled in insecurity, obsessive thoughts, or feelings of inadequacy in my relationship with the Lord or others. I am realizing, as my life goes on and I struggle through various hardships, that the enemy purposefully attacks me so that I get stuck and thrown off track. In these moments, I get turned around and start to focus on me, how I feel, and what I think, instead of what the Word tells me about God and the life he created me to live.
He robs me of life and joy.
That’s his tactic and my response must not be self-pity, or a drive to control, but an effort to fight. I must press against him and run to what’s true. I must remind myself that I’m not the enemy’s, but that I’ve been bought with a price. I’m the Lord’s. The enemy can’t have me.
We are commanded to fight : “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done EVERYTHING, to stand. Stand firm…” (Ephesians 6:10-14).
Satan wants us, but he can’t have us (John 10:28). If we are the Lord’s (meaning that we have placed our trust in the fact that He alone is God, and we can’t save ourselves but must trust in the cross which paid the price for our sins), then we are saved. He can’t steal us from God, for God holds power over the enemy. We must fight. Lean into the Lord. Ask him to search you and take away any false dependency, identity, lie or addiction from you so that you can grasp the power that’s at hand through His death and resurrection. (See John 11:25 &26.)
God’s word doesn’t say that Satan “sometimes” robs us of life. The Word says he ONLY robs us of life. That’s a lot different. So anytime we have a thought that isn’t of the Lord (obsessive worry, self-criticalness, or impurity), we must confess it. We must ask Him to help us and teach us to take Him at His word. When we lack in faith or trust, we must ask for it because our reaction to the temptations and hardships in our lives are crucial.
If the enemy ONLY lies, our response must be to disprove the lies he throws at us.
“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees, and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess” (Deuteronomy 30:15&16).
The enemy takes, but the Lord gives. Choose life over death. It’s harder at certain times than others, but keep going. The Lord is faithful, and He’s good. He loves you. Trust Him.