The question plagued me as I scanned my kitchen for the family size loaf I had just brought in from the car. It had, by all lack of appearances, vanished into thin air.
Now, I’ll admit that I suffer from the unofficial disorder called “Mom A.D.D.” Any mother who has attempted to simultaneously put away groceries, fold laundry, organize backpacks and arrange carpools is familiar with the condition. We know that this unfocused multi-tasking leads to misplacing things, running in circles and accomplishing nothing.
Perhaps the missing bread indicated a flare-up? Had I put the bread in the washing machine and the muddy shoes in the bread box? No, Sherlock, I had definitely placed the bread on the counter and now it was gone. A mystery had descended on my kitchen.
It was solved minutes later when I stepped on the deck and saw my Black Lab bounding through the back yard, happy as a clam with that loaf of bread dangling from her jaws.
This wasn’t the first time Jasmine had swiped something in the twinkling of an eye. Her quick steals have included five pork chops, a tuna foot long from Subway and a chocolate bunny lifted from an Easter basket and consumed in one gulp, foil wrapping included.
Her thefts aren’t confined to food. She’ll yank a sock off your foot and once stole a kitten from my lap. So tiny he still wobbled when walked, the kitten purred contentedly as Jasmine toted him around by the scruff of his neck, bathed him before the fireplace and laid her paw protectively over him as he slept. Three years later, the kitten-now-cat still occasionally nestles against dog-mom.
Despite kleptomania, Jasmine is a good dog—which I why I hate using her as an analogy to Satan. She fits it, though, in that she can grab ‘n go before you even realize she had entered the room.
Among the many descriptions Jesus gave of Satan, “thief” is right in there. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10)
We know that thieves employ different tactics. Some watch and wait before striking, some slowly steal over time and others seize opportunities when they happen along. Satan does all three, but it’s the latter one I want to talk about.
Obviously, Satan doesn’t show up with a “Hello My Name is Devil” sticker on his lapel. Instead, he prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8). He’s called that ancient serpent, the craftiest of all creatures. (Revelation 12:9, Genesis 3:1) He can masquerade as an angel of light and is known as the father of lies. (2 Corinthians 11:14, John 8:44) No matter his title, he’s eager to act as the adversity, accuser and tempter who wants to steal our faith, joy, peace-of-mind and calling in life.
We’re told that our struggle is not against flesh and blood; it is against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) Our fight is with Satan and his assistants, who seek any foothold that will give them leverage to get inside and rob us blind. These footholds are our weaknesses, fears and unconquered sins, used by the enemy to destroy our goals to serve God, stand strong in faith and walk the walk laid out for us. Even when we’re earnestly seeking God’s will, Satan is earnestly seeking our moments of distraction. Let us not forget— when God isn’t first, our guard is down.
We keep our guard up by being “self controlled and alert” (1 Peter 5:8). I realized the necessity of this when a friend observed my dog’s sticky paws and said, “There IS a lesson to be learned here.”
Indeed there is, one demanding action. Whether Jasmine’s theft issues stem from K-9 nature or lack of discipline, I must acknowledge her capabilities—and keep that spiral ham out of her reach.
How do we avoid Satan’s reach? The best security system is found in Ephesians 6: 13-18—truth, faith, righteousness, salvation, God’s Word and prayer. While this armor can prevent self-inflicted troubles, it doesn’t spare us all of life’s sufferings. It is, however, the armor that keeps Satan from stealing the God-provided strength, sustainment, comfort, hope and wisdom needed to remove footholds, persevere through trials and triumph in spiritual battle.
Well, now that I’ve compared my sweet (though spirited) dog to the devil, I’m feeling kind of guilty. I believe I’ll go and just GIVE her that spiral ham.