"But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into" (Luke 12:39).
Houses are always getting broken into. Personal houses. Marriage houses. Church houses. Nation houses. The enemy never tires.
Housekeepers, on the other hand, get restless with watching, and they tend to slack off. Jesus says they get mean or they become partiers (v.45)
It is considered a disgrace, in the Bible, when a person or nation is not prepared. Kings who go to war and find that they are not able to finish what they started are rightly ridiculed. So are builders of towers who run out of cement in the middle of the project (14:28-33).
In the throes of a disaster is no time to start thinking about preparedness. That all has to be thought of in advance. Jesus says that if you want to follow Him you had better think it through it before you start, and take account of what this adventure is going to cost you. Are you willing to give up your own plans? Do you have a strategy for unexpected attacks?
I have come up with a little strategy for attacks of the enemy. Of course I pray and fill up on God's Word. But in addition to that, I have found it helpful, in times of temptation, to have a few stock questions to put to myself. These are generally what you would regard as small temptations. (I am hardly ever tempted to attack Libya, for example.) They are so small that I would be embarrassed to mention them except that I have found that these are the stuff real life is made of.
For instance, I might have a desire to say something to someone or ask something of someone. But there is a hesitation in my spirit. That hesitation might be an indication that what I want to say is not of the Spirit but is of demonic origin. (Those two are always in active opposition. See Galatians 5:17). The funny thing is that the desire never seems that strong until I start to mount a little resistance. Then it puts up more fight, finally removing the velvet glove to reveal an iron fist.
Very strong temptations are almost like being in the Colosseum if you try to fight them. The mano a mano is brutal. This is especially so when the act you are tempted to is not explicitly proscribed in the Scriptures and Satan is telling you that it's fine and you're being overly scrupulous.
This is very dangerous ground unless you are forearmed with a few weapons just for the occasion. Ephesians 6 was written for just such times, and it prescribes weaponry of prayer and Bible knowledge and righteousness. This is what Jesus used to keep the thief out of his house in Luke 4, and I also begin to pray, and to summon every Scripture I can think of that applies even remotely to the situation.
In addition, I put these three questions to myself when the matter involves another person, which it almost always does:
- Does this thing you want to say or do proceed from faith? Or is there another way that is more of faith?
- Is this thing you want to say or do the most loving thing to do or say? Or is there a way that is slightly more loving?
- Does this proposed action bring the most glory to God? Or is there a way that is more glorifying to God?
Even with all that, I can barely keep the thief out of the pantry.
But after having my house broken into most of my life, I am determined to keep a close watch on all the entrances from now on.