Someone's Trying to Break In!
I guess the phrase "foolish criminal" is a little redundant, since to engage in criminal acts is pretty much the result of shutting down brain cells and hitting the mute button on that little voice that is saying "don't do this...you're stupid...you will get caught...hello!!!"
A man in Massachusetts who would rob banks by claiming the bag he was carrying had a bomb in it. Well, it didn't - as police discovered later when he accidentally left the bag in a bank. Inside was...wait for it...a phone book that had a mailing label with his FULL NAME and ADDRESS! Oh, and did I mention the robbery notes were written in crayon? Brick Red (as in dumb as a) or maybe "jail bird blue" would my guess.
Then there's the criminal in Charlotte who escaped arrest by running into the woods. Of course after feeling that clever he decided to take it one step further and pull the ultimate stealth move. Police found him at his home later that day...hiding in his bed underneath the sheets. Perhaps he mistook the police for the boogeyman?
This is the best one. Arkansas: A very thirsty man carefully crafted a masterminded robbery strategy for a liquor store. Try to keep up:
- Step one: throw a cinder block through liquor store window
- Step two: grab the merch
- Step three: run.
Brilliant! But here's what happened:
- Step one: threw the cinder block...except the window was Plexiglas, so it bounced back and pegged him in the head.
- Step two: kiss the pavement
- Step three: get arrested.
And did I mention that this whole deal was caught on videotape? Oh please, please, please, if you have this tape, stop what you're doing right now and upload it on YouTube!
OK, so did you know that there is a criminal trying to rob you right now? Not in a literal sense...but in a spiritual sense. The thing is, this is not a foolish thief. No phone books, bed sheets, or cinder blocks here. In fact, you know this criminal very, very well...
This criminal is you. Inside you is an entity called your sin nature - as in your natural tendency to sin, do wrong things, disobey God, etc. etc. If you didn't already know this, sin is the ultimate thief. It highjacks your happiness and robs your relationships. It sucks the very life out of your soul, because it goes against the way God designed life to be lived:
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15 NLT)
Like most crimes in the mind of the criminal, on paper it looks like a good plan, but ends up locking you in a prison of guilt and shame with no chance at parole.
You want to know the best way to beat this not-so-foolish criminal? Set up an alarm system. Here's the one the Bible recommends:
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21)
Did you pick up the warnings from these verses? First, if you want to avoid being robbed by your sin nature, stay close to the Holy Spirit. You remember - your Friend who lives inside you? As a Friend - and your best One by the way - He will warn you when the thief is trying to break in. You'll hear a still small voice saying "hey - what you're thinking about doing is not worth it."
Second, be warned that this thief will never give up as long as you're alive:
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other. (Galatians 5:17)
In other words, keep on the lookout for the next attempt from your sin nature to pillage and plunder your personal peace. It may be around the next web site, conversation with a friend, or even a train of thought that is headed down the wrong tracks.
Be warned, but take heart. With time, practice, and of course the Holy Spirit, you should be able to turn this masterminded thief into a...well, foolish criminal!
Head: What you need to know about this truth
Our sin nature is a thief who is constantly trying to rob our lives by trying to lead us into temptation and sin. But we can defeat this criminal through the power of the Holy Spirit and by learning our weak spots.
Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
What would you do if someone was trying to break into your house? Call the police? Run? Bust out the nunchuck and bow staff skills? One thing is for sure, I don't think you'd open the door and say "c'mon in - take what you want!" Well, every day there is a thief trying to steal things that are more valuable than anything in your home. Things like your peace, your innocence, your future. So be afraid, and be prepared.
Hands: What you need to do about this truth
Write down or think through the past few weeks in terms of your battle with the thief called your sin nature. Where are your weak spots? What was stolen? How can you be better prepared in the upcoming days? Think hard about these questions, because they definitely impact your life!