Helping the Thief

burning-question-markThe other day I was reading Psalms 50:16-18a when I stopped short, feeling as if I’d been hit right between the eyes. Before I tell you why, I should confess a shortcoming. Occasionally, because I’m reading my Bible, praying, and not committing any heinous sins, I start feeling content in my own “righteousness.” As you know, a self-righteous person can be a real pain in the neck. Usually, a Scripture checks this type of irritating attitude before it gets out of control in my life. And that’s what happened the other day when I read Psalms 50:16-18a.

But God says to evil men: Recite my laws no longer and stop claiming my promises, for you have refused my discipline, disregarding my laws. . .”

At this point of my Bible reading, my self-righteous attitude kicked in. Almost without realizing it, I smiled smugly and mentally patted myself on the back for not being evil or disregarding God’s laws. I had just pictured myself as God’s “shining, over-achieving child” when I read the first part of verse 18.

“You see a thief and help him.”

cuffs-and-messageSuddenly, I felt as if I’d been struck by a bolt of lightning. Staring at the verse, I felt a wave of conviction from the Lord. Naturally—being me—I fought against the guilty feeling. Looking up at the ceiling, I protested loudly, “What are you talking about, Lord? Why am I feeling guilty? I’ve never helped a thief steal someone’s television set! As far as I know, I’ve never even met a thief!”

Instantly, John 10:10 came to mind: “The thief [the devil] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Immediately after I remembered the verse, I felt God speak deep down in my spirit. His voice wasn’t audible, but it was powerful. God simply said, “The devil has been stealing from you, and you have been helping him.”

thiefLeaning back in my chair, I gazed up at the ceiling. I felt stunned. Reviewing the last several weeks in my mind, I narrowed my eyes. I had been experiencing some difficulties, and when I prayed about them, I felt God’s peace assuring me that everything would be okay. But regardless of God’s assurances, I had been worrying about my circumstances. I had been running scenarios in my mind, trying to anticipate possible problems. I hadn’t been sleeping well, and I’d been spending my days feeling worried and tense.

God’s gentle voice said, “You’ve been helping the thief steal your peace.”

handcuffsFeeling ashamed, I had to admit it was true. My mind wandered to my recent diet. I felt myself blush. I had been losing weight and then gaining it back with alarming regularity. Every time I was few pounds down, I would start craving cookies. Eventually, I would cave and indulge in sweet treats. The break in my diet would signal a return to bad eating habits and lack of exercise. The pounds would creep back onto my frame—along with a feeling of guilt and defeat.

Again, God’s gentle voice came, “You’ve been helping the thief steal your health and victory.”

Biting my lip, I nodded. I knew it was true. Again my mind flashed back over the last several weeks. I realized that I’d allowed resentment toward an individual creep into my thinking. Although I knew bitterness was wrong, I’d been harboring hurt feelings.

God spoke, “You’ve been helping the thief destroy your relationship and steal your joy.”

truth-stonesHiding my face in my hands, I whispered, “I’m sorry, God. I know you’re right. I’ve been helping the thief steal from me. What do I do now?”

At this point, I expected God to give some wonderful piece of advice. I expected to be directed to another Scripture verse. I expected—well, I’m not exactly sure what I expected, but I certainly didn’t expect what He said next.

God simply said, “Snap out of it, and stop it.”

Sitting there with a stunned expression on my face, I had to laugh. “Snap out of it, and stop it,” may not have been exactly what I was expecting to hear, but I had to admit that it resonated.

Standing to my feet, I nodded. From that moment on, I resolved not to allow the thief to steal my peace. The next time I started worrying about things I knew God had under control, I decided that I would give myself a mental shake and sing a hymn. The next time I was tempted to break my diet and eat cookies, I decided that I would shake my head firmly and grab a bottle of mineral water. And the next time I was tempted to feel angry and resentful, I decided that I would sit down and write ten things that I appreciated about the person who had offended me.

holding-the-sunA wise person once said that the best way to fight the devil is to do the opposite of what the devil wants you to do, and to do it with gusto. I think that advice goes hand-in-hand with what I felt God telling me to do. When the devil comes in the form of a sneaky thief, rather than blindly helping him steal—snap out of it, and stop it!

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31 thoughts on “Helping the Thief

  1. lelandandbecky

    These are powerful words, Danele! Words that are born out of experience and affliction are more heavily weighted. They have an incomparable depth to them. I love that one of the meanings of testimony is “firsthand authentication of a fact”, because that “fact” is God’s Word, God’s Truth. These words are part of that Sword that divides our soul and spirit, and judges our thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Words of life. I just want to say to my mind and spirit, “Selah” – think on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this article, Becky! And I really enjoyed your comment about the meaning of a testimony. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and speaking words of encouragement and blessing. I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

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  2. First— I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE YOU HERE!
    Thank you for sharing your heart and insights here. We can so easily slip into the habits (aka, sins) that take our eyes off a loving Father!
    As usual, you emphasize truths with humility and humor and encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Index of Articles–Organized by Date – dragonflydanele

  4. Phyllis Bauman

    Thank you so much for this timely post! I suffer from depression and it is extremely difficult over the holidays. This has reminded me again that God is in control. I only need to allow Him to be my constant Provider, my Sovereign Savior, and my Hope in all of my life!! In our flesh, we think we can handle everything but we forget that it is only through Him we have strength and the power to endure. Prayers for your continued strength and a powerful New Year ahead! Blessings to you and your family!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Phyllis, I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post. ❤ Your comment was really beautiful–it touched my heart. I want to thank you again for your continued prayers. This year was a tough one for me, and it really helps to know that I have friends like you lifting me up in prayer. I hope you have a fantastic New Year! Thanks for being such a blessing to me and to so many other people. ❤

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  5. Renette Steele

    Danele,

    You brought my heart such joy! To open my email and see a post from you was the best way to celebrate the coming year. As always your beautiful words are so timely. We often drift along patting ourselves on the back for a good job and don’t stop to think how we might be helping the enemy along the way.
    Your insights are amazing and a joy to read and ponder.
    Thank you!
    May your coming year be filled with good health and loads of blessings filled to the fullest with His SONshine and may He forever guide your pen.

    Love and Hugs
    I have missed you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Renette, thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the article. I hope you have a fantastic New Year! Thanks again for all of your kind words and for your prayers. I really appreciate you! 🙂

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  6. Danele, like Renette, I am thrilled to see your name pop up on my screen together with this wonderful post. You always seem to flash the shot at exactly where my heart and mind have been lately. Don’t know about you, but after the events of the past month, I look back and thanks to your faithfulness to share what you’re going through, I too have been helping the thief. I’m praying your New Year is full of health and joy and writing to all of us who need to hear what the Lord says to your heart! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Coleen

    Wow! What a powerful Word to ME at the beginning of a new day and new year. I’ve got to go back and ponder this some more, because it has hit home so strong this morning. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I am so thankful to see you back on here. You have been missed greatly. I pray 2018 will bring you abundant blessings in every area of your life. Looking forward to more posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Coleen, I’m so glad that you enjoyed this article! Thank you for your lovely comment and for all of your prayers! ❤ I appreciate you and your prayers so much! I hope you have a fabulous new year!

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  8. shelley1965

    Oh my word, Danele! Ouch! This is absolutely what I needed. I’ve been experiencing very similar things. What a kick in the pants to discover I’ve been helping the enemy! Gah!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Dear Shelley, congratulations on restarting your blog! That’s so wonderful! And as far as sharing my links, you can do that any time you like. 🙂 I’m so glad that you enjoyed my post. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know–it made me happy! 🙂

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  9. dear friend, as i read through this i see myself in your words!! i posted recently about not fighting anymore – fighting *against* Father’s will and purpose for my life. fighting by worrying or focusing on the negative, of the classic, “how long Lord?” fighting by helping or hopelessly allowing the enemy to have his way.
    i look back at my journey, specifically the recent years, and I can rest in Father’s Word for me this year, RESTORATION!!
    blessings to you dear one, and a new era for you in the new year

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Robin, what a lovely word is RESTORATION! I will be praying for you as you enter this new year, and thank you for continuing to pray for me. Your comment really resonated with me. With all of my health issues, 2017 was probably the hardest year that I’ve had in a decade. I’m so glad it’s 2018! I know that just flipping a page on the calendar doesn’t really do anything, but it does give me hope. Hope for a brighter tomorrow. Hope for your lovely idea of restoration. Hope that joy and renewed health are not out of reach, but that they here, right now. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. And thanks for being my friend. I hope you have a fantastic day!

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  10. Beverly Cheevers

    I had one of those moments, years ago, in my seminary days. I was on my way to work (campus job) and had been bemoaning my sad state of affairs almost the whole walk down the hallway- rehearsing how miserable my existence was and how I was unlovable and unappreciated- when the Holy Spirit stopped me just feet away from the office door. “Things are NOT that bad! Think of all you have to be grateful for!” With His gentle (inaudible) prompting to think on the things that are true, et al., I immediately repented of my self-pity and began thanking God for His blessings. Just as immediately, in the space of about 10 feet and 20 seconds, my steps were lightened and my heart filled with peace and joy. I was amazed at how my prompt obedience brought prompt blessing (though I shouldn’t have been!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Beverly, thank you so much for your comment–I really enjoyed it! It’s amazing how God can speak to us and put things into perspective. Thanks for sharing your story and for also sharing your heart. I hope you have a fantastic day!

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