Read His Words Before Ours!
“What’s in your hand?”, my mom asked as we walked out of the convenience store. I slowly unwrapped my seven-year-old fingers from the small pack of Now and Later candy I had stolen. The pit in my stomach told me I was in trouble and it was only going to get worse.
“You have to take it back and apologize.” My mom held my hand and led me back into the store. We walked up to the counter and I stared at the pickled pig’s feet in the jar on the counter.
“My daughter has something she would like to tell you,” Mom explained to the clerk. I stretched my hand out and dropped the candy on the counter.
“I’m sorry I took these without paying for them.”
I couldn’t make eye contact, I was so embarrassed. Immediately, I headed for the door.
Once we left, my mom explained I had broken one of the Ten Commandments. Stealing was on the same list as murder. I learned a valuable lesson and cemented an aversion both to pickled pig’s feet and stealing that has stuck with me to this day.
I have since realized my desire to take what isn’t mine goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. When the serpent convinced Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were stealing from God.
One of Satan’s most deceptive strategies involves providing a short-term solution giving us something we want or need, but ultimately keeping us from God’s best.
Though Eve lacked for nothing, Satan enticed her with the forbidden fruit. Just like Adam and Eve, we can be easily convinced God is holding out and we need to meet our own wants or needs.
For many people, our choice to cut corners and take what isn’t ours comes from
a fear God won’t give us what we want,
a sense of entitlement (we deserve what we are taking),
or just plain impatience.
Each of these motivations are based on pride.
Pride means elevating our needs and desires over God and other people.
When we act out of fear, we are choosing to listen to pride’s whispered lie we know more than God and can do a better job providing than He can.
A sense of entitlement elevates our needs and desires over the owner’s rights. Pride tells us our desires are THE MOST important. As Proverbs 16:19 reminds us, “Better to be of lowly spirit with the humble than to divide plunder with the proud.”
Impatience is often rooted in pride and fear, as well. Our pride falsely elevates our ability to know the future, and imposes a man-made deadline on the Creator of the Universe’s capacity to meet our needs. Rather than focusing on God’s unlimited resources and ability, we become focused on our scarce resources and opportunities.
Fear is a weapon Satan often uses to lead us away from God’s best. The best way to fight back is by studying and memorizing Bible verses. God’s Word is a double-edged sword we can use to defeat Satan’s attacks. Dwelling on Scripture builds our faith; faith provides a shield against the fiery arrows Satan uses against us.
At an early age, my mom helped me learn to use this verse to combat fear.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”
(2 Timothy 1:7)
This promise breaks through the fear of unmet needs.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
When the future looms ahead, murky in uncertainty, let’s remember:
“Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
whom should I dread?” (Psalm 27:1)
When pride begins to puff our chests and cloud our vision,
let’s pursue humility with His Word:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
“When arrogance comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
Whether we’re tempted to pocket a stolen piece of candy, or steal our future from the hands of our loving Father, we’ve seen how God’s command to refrain from stealing addresses the true condition of our hearts.
And when we struggle with fear of scarcity, impatience, or pride, we can counteract Satan’s assaults with Scripture. When fear strikes, we can ask God to lead us to His truth from Scripture to counteract the lies. Let’s turn our focus to our Heavenly Father as we trust in His deep love, His unbounded resources, and His faithful provision.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!