Is There a Thief in Your Mind?

This weekend a friend brought up my health. She asked how Satan might be using my health challenges to stop me from reaching my purpose. Her question caught me by surprise—and turned on a light.

“Oh my,” I gasped. “The book I’ve put on hold is called Little Strength, Big God!”

I chose that title because that theme tied the biblical characters I was studying together. Now, was the one with little strength.

My friend Linda’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.

  • robber takes “something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence”[1]
  • thief steals, “especially secretly or without open force.” [2]

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” (Jn. 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.

The thief called Mary’s actions a waste. Jesus called her actions beautiful. Do you know your Shepherd's voice? #wisdom, #discernment Share on X

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 know the difference between Jesus’ and the thief’s voice? #SpiritualBattles, #victory Share on X

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?

What words, spoken either in your mind or by someone, have taunted or paralyzed you? 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” (Jn. 10:10).

Comment: What helps you recognize and overcome self-defeating thoughts?



How to Win at Spiritual Warfare

Are You a Victim of the Enemy’s Deception?



Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash

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  1. Ann Musico

    What a great and timely reminder for me today! I have been fighting negative thoughts about a situation and God has brought exactly what I needed to hear to encourage me including your post Debbie. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Glory to God! Ann, we need each other, just as I needed my friend’s question.

  2. Melissa Henderson

    I will not let the thief steal my joy and love of writing. In all my writing, I pray people will draw closer to Him.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes! Melissa, I’m sure that is a prayer He delights in answering!

  3. Henni Corbin

    Just recently I heard a broadcast from Pete Briscoe on hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice. In breaking the message down, Pete suggested we ask ourselves one simple question…does the voice that is speaking bring life or death? I have much to work on, dear Debbie. I would respectfully say that to stop writing your book would be the death of your anointed project. May the Lord multiply your strength and healing so that you may finish the task. xo

    • Debbie Wilson

      Henni, I love succint ways of stating truth. Thank you for sharing that and for your encouragement!

  4. Dawn Wilson

    So timely for me. With my new fight against Myeloma, I had a mental/emotional meltdown yesterday because I believed some of Satan’s lies. I counseled my heart with God’s Word and with the encouragement of friends and family, got over that first hurdle in the journey. But then, to get your article this morning. That just was such a boost in my spirit. Thank you. (And IM me sometime… I’d like to know more about your health issue and how I can pray for you during my “Elevate and Eleven-ish” prayer times.) I just put your article on my FB page because it is another “Rope of Hope” for me. (Going to write that article soon!) Love to you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Dawn, I’m so sorry to hear what you are battling. We can certainly hold each other up and lean into our wonderful Savior. Nothing is too difficult for Him!

  5. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, your post increases our awareness of the enemy’s wiles and reminds us to encourage each other. Thanks so much.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jeannie!

  6. Ann Johnson

    Oh Debbie! What an important distinction that I had never thought of before. This bathed me in truth. Thank you.


    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann! Blessings to you.

  7. Kim

    Insidious, that’s what Satan is and I thank you for an excellent reminder. Too often I forget to question my thoughts and where (who) they’re coming from. (And I love your new book title! And how it flows from Little Women Big God too! Stay with it!) Yes, I believe God is using your health issues for good, as he always does!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kim! And Insidious is a good word to describe our enemy.

  8. Karisa Moore

    Debbie, this was beautiful and timely as I wrestle with wounds caused by the church body years ago as I stepped out in faith to trust Christ deeper. I was learning to trust God’s voice but was told I wasn’t hearing it. Too long I have allowed that voice to be louder than my Lord and Savior’s. Thank you for helping me to recognize the thief as I once again lean in, to attune my ear to the Father’s calling. Blessings sister.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Karisa, it is hard when people who are assoiciated with Christ speak so strongly. I’m thankful God preserved this story in the Bible to show us to test every thought. Even Jesus’ workers can be manipulated by Satan.

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