The Conquering And The Conqueror

I have recently observed an incident involving two women; both have been victims of various types of abuse in their lives. However, as I observed their words and behavior during a conversation they were having, I concluded that the first woman allowed the abuse she suffered to dictate to her an inability to show kindness and compassion to the other woman. When this first woman heard something that reminded her of her own abuse, she suddenly became incapable of offering time to be a listening ear to the other woman who was deeply hurting by a recent event in her life.

On the other hand, as I observed the second woman, who attempted to share her wounded heart, I was reminded of this second woman’s overall attitude and behavior. She has suffered tremendous abuse throughout her childhood and teen years, including multiple sexual assaults from more than one of her uncles. Consequently, during her young teen years she developed a problem with bulimia.

In truth, while both of these women have suffered abuse, the second woman has suffered far greater abuses and for a much longer time. Even so, she has risen above the chains that can emotionally imprison a victim. She consistently gives time and a listening ear to anyone who needs to talk out their own troubles. At times, what people share, naturally reminds her of the hurts that she, too, has suffered. Nonetheless, she does not allow those reminders to shut her down, rendering her too stressed to be a needed listening ear. She does not allow her mind to be held captive by those memories.

What makes the first woman a slave to her pain while the second woman makes pain her slave? The first woman is controlled by her stress levels while the second woman controls her stress. How does this happen?

We read in Psalm 27:10, “Even if my mother and father abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” The second woman has learned the beauty of that verse which reminds us that no matter who may reject and abuse us, Jesus in all His beauty has promised never to leave us. We also read in Philippians 2:4-5, “Don’t just look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” The second woman has come to understand that Jesus is the one who can offer perfect comfort and peace to the hurting and faultless strength to the abused. He is also the one who can enable someone to be that listening ear to another, rising above the effects of their own pain.

The world’s philosophy says to take care of number one, avoiding anything that reminds one of their own pain. The philosophy of Jesus says to be that listening ear to those who hurt because when you are reminded of your own pain, Jesus is big enough to squash it, tame it, and bring it into submission. Through the strength of Jesus, personal pain can be brought under control rather than the pain controlling one’s mind and emotions and behavior. Isn’t that amazing?

There is absolutely no pain of this world that is stronger than the peace of Jesus. When we learn of Him and His ways, then we take on that strength, rising above the status of victim; thereby, enslaving pain, never allowing pain to dictate inability to simply offer someone a listening ear.

Jesus said when talking with His disciples in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give you a rich and full life.” Satan, the god of this world, seeks to steal all joy, kill all peace, and destroy ability to rise above the role of victim. Jesus came with HIs purpose to restore what pain has stolen, to heal what abuse has killed, and to bring back to life what being a victim has destroyed.

In Christ there is always victory.  Through Him we can be a conqueror.  He is our everything to get us through anything.

The Gatekeeper

Not long ago a friend said she wanted to show me a beautiful lake.  As we walked along we passed by a  children’s fun park.  We could see over the walls that there was a maze, a petting zoo, and stalls for winning prizes.  There was one entrance which was guarded by the gatekeeper.  This gatekeeper would take money for the entrance fee and also be aware of anyone trying to sneak past the gate or climb over the wall without his knowledge.

That’s when I thought of the temple in the Old Testament.  There were four gates, each located at the east, west, north, and south.  Gatekeepers were assigned duties to guard illegal access from enemies of God who would seek to steal, kill, or destroy.  As the notion formed in my mind I felt myself shudder with the thought, that’s exactly what Satan, the enemy of God, still does today!  Jesus said in John 10:9-10, “I am the gate.  Those who come in through me will be saved.  Wherever they go, they will find green pastures.  The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”  Isn’t that amazing, although not surprising, that the tactics of the enemy has not changed?

Today, there is no temple made with human hands as there was in the Old Testament.  Today, all those who have the Holy Spirit residing within them become the living temple of God.  Therefore, we must take caution.  We must be always on the ready to guard the gates!  How do we do that?  Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”  Isn’t that an extraordinary statement?  Whatever enters the gates of our heart affects everything we do.

Our best weapon against the thief gaining illegal access to our minds is prayer.  Some may consider prayer to be such an easy thing that it can’t be that effective.  Oh, no!  It’s not to be regarded as some simple pastime; it’s to be held in high esteem for its  power!  Why do you think we can be so easily distracted, putting off talking to God and listening to Him?  Because the thief understands the power of prayer.  He slips by the gate to our mind and climbs over the wall of our heart, whispering his lies that prayer is ineffective, so why bother?  Heeding his advice from his illegal entrance, our minds are immediately affected.  We lose peace and joy.  We become afraid and despondent.  All that negativity because we became negligent gatekeepers.  The enemy’s entire mission is to kill and steal and destroy.  Why let him in?


What Does A Thief Want?

It stands to reason that a thief would never attempt to rob anyone who had nothing of value.  Breaking and entering only takes place because the thief wants the something of value that you possess.  John 10:10 informs us of two things:  First, it tells us that “The theif’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”  The Christian will know who the thief is; the thief is our arch enemy, Satan.  Since we are categorically told that his purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy, that fact is enough to let us know we need to pay attention.

When soldiers prepare for battle, a part of their training is to know the enemy.  Be aware of tactics used.  Know what they want.  It’s no different in spiritual warfare.  What does our enemy want to steal and kill and destroy?  He wants to steal your joy, kill your inner peace, and destroy your effectiveness in God’s Kingdom.  He will do whatever it takes to accomplish his purpose to steal, kill and destroy.  He lies and deceives.  He whispers words of hopelessness.

When one of God’s children blows it, our arch enemy doesn’t want you and me to dwell on the truth of God’s grace; He whispers that God’s wrath will create a living hell for us for the rest of our days.  He whispers that life’s circumstances are nothing more than God’s anger; belying the fact of God’s love and forgiveness.  The arch enemy doesn’t want you walking in the daily strength of God; he wants you wallowing in self pity.  The arch enemy doesn’t want you focused on God’s plan for your life which leads to contentment no matter life’s troubles; he wants you blaming God for your woes, leading you away from your Father rather than snuggling secure in Father’s arms of love.

Satan hates you because He hates Jesus.  He will never be anything to you and me but a thief with the sinister purpose to steal, kill, and destroy.  His constant attacks on our mind is tiring, causing us, in times of discouragement to want to throw in the towel.  I urge you, don’t dare surrender to the master thief.  Don’t give victory to his purpose; concentrate instead on God’s purpose, which is the second part of our verse.  Let’s read that verse in its entirety:  “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose (God is saying) is to give a rich and satisfying life.”  While the arch enemy seeks to steal away all that is good; your Father seeks to give you riches of satisfaction for all the days of your life.

When we want to keep out a thief, we lock the doors.  It’s no different in our spiritual world.  Lock  the door with declaring the truth of God’s Word, with praises for His goodness, and with prayer that calls upon God’s strength.   When we lock the door to our mind and heart with God’s truth, the lies of the thief cannot enter, rendering him useless in his goals to steal, kill and destroy.  When the Christian chooses God’s truth; the arch enemy’s lies cannot take a hold on our inner peace.

Let’s lock the door to the enemy and walk in God’s purposes.