by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson
“How might Satan be using your health challenges to stop you from reaching your purpose?
My friend’s question caught me by surprise—and turned on a light.
“Oh my,” I gasped. “That book I’d put on hold dealt with that very thing: little strength!”
I’d chosen that focus because the theme tied together the biblical characters I was studying. Now, I was the one with little strength.
My friend’s question made me realize I’d taken my health issues as a reason to put the book aside. I believed if this assignment was important to God then He wouldn’t allow me to feel so poorly. Obviously, this book must not matter to Him.
I’d allowed these thoughts to steal my motivation to finish.
Robber Versus Thief
The dictionary shows an important distinction between a robber and a thief. I’ve underlined a key difference.
- A robber takes “something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence.”
- A thief steals, “especially secretly or without open force.” 
In John 10:10, Jesus called Satan a thief. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (NIV).
If someone stuck a gun in your back and asked for your wallet, you’d know you were being robbed. But a thief may con you into believing surrendering the same cash is noble—even God’s will.
My friend’s question pulled back the curtain and exposed the thief behind the lies trying to steal my purpose. I realized God wasn’t stopping my project. He was empowering me to write from experience.
A Thief Among Us
John 12 tells the story of Mary anointing Jesus with an expensive perfume and Judas openly criticizing her. He basically called her action a waste and said the ointment, worth a year’s wages, could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
Can you imagine how those harsh words, spoken in front of a house full of people, could have wounded Mary? If she’d believed Judas (who was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples) she could have felt ashamed that she hadn’t been “wiser” in how she showed her love for Jesus. She could have believed she’d disappointed God.
But the Bible says, “He [Judas] did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief” (John 12:6 NIV).
Jesus allowed Judas’s poisonous words to prick the ears of everyone in the room before stepping in to set the record straight. How many were agreeing with Judas?
If you’ve ever been assailed by accusations when you’ve tried to serve Jesus, listen to His words.
“‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. …She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her’” (Mark 14:6-9 NIV). (The Ryrie Study Bible says Mark is describing the same scene as in John.)
The thief called Mary’s actions a waste. Jesus called her actions beautiful.
Mary had done “what she could.” She couldn’t stop poverty. She couldn’t protect Jesus from the cruelty He’d suffer on His way to the cross that very week. But she could anoint Him with her love. And Jesus called it beautiful!
Do you recognize the voice that plays in your mind? Jesus’ words infuse joy, life, love, and hope. But Satan’s steal and destroy. Which message do you believe? Don’t let the thief steal the good you can offer Jesus.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV
About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog. debbieWwilson.com
Join the conversation: What words, spoken either in your mind or by someone, have taunted or paralyzed you?