The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~John 10:10
As much as ever, thieves are hard at work. They will take the shirt right off your back and the car from your garage. You can protect yourself and minimize the possibilities, but thieves are cunning and ingenious.
Here are a few things that are at the top of the thievery list.
- Your identity. Identity theft is increasing at an alarming rate. In 2019, 650,000 reported this type of fraud to the FTC, a 46% increase over 2018. These incidents, though, were only 20.3% of all financial fraud/scam reports that year.
- Your vehicle. According to Forbes, the most-stolen vehicles in 2018 were the GMC Sierra pickup, Ford F150 pickup, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Chevy Silverado pickup. But don’t think your car or truck is completely safe.
- Your stuff in your car. They may not drive off in your car, but they will still take the stuff inside. Thieves will take GPS devices, expensive car radios, cell phones, laptop/tablet, car registration/insurance, rims/tires.
- From your home. Jewelry or watches are at the top of the list. Purse, wallet or money, computer or computer equipment and electrical goods or cameras are also popular.
You can get the best protection money can buy, but thieves can steal your identity, your car, your wallet or purse, your best pair of jeans or tennis shoes. No matter what you do, you can still be the victim.
But let’s switch gears, because there is good news: While thieves can take your stuff, they can’t take the most important things in life. No, you have to give those away yourself.
You see, we live in the midst of deception. We know that “…evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:3). The tools of the enemy are designed to deceive, lead you astray and will wield “empty words” (Ephesians 5:6).
The intent is to distract, mislead, frighten and hoodwink you into giving up something that only you can relinquish. Let’s be perfectly clear: There are things that Satan and people cannot steal from you, but you must be on your guard that you don’t give it away unwittingly and unawares.
You can control three things: Your actions, your reactions, and your mindset or attitude. If you’re able to do that — and give up trying to control the rest of the stuff — you’ll be in a position to stay sane and hold onto the important things in life.
Here’s a short list of things no one can steal from you.
It’s right there in red and white: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27. Jesus gave it to you and left it with you. No one can take it from you without your permission.
Remember, joy is not the same as happiness. You can have joy and temporary unhappiness, but you’ll never experience true happiness without joy. Hang onto the joy.
John Maxwell says: “Your attitude is either your best friend or your worst enemy, your greatest asset or your greatest liability.” Don’t let a lousy mindset take you astray down a wrong road where you’ll meet with bad influences and wind up in the scrap heap of a dead end. Protect your attitude and keep your eye on the prize.
Without hope, you have nothing. Often, this is the first domino to fall, so cherish it, feed it and nurture it. Hope will stave off despair and fear. Hope is contagious and it will snowball. As Ray Johnston says:
- Hope liberates. Hope releases you from your past.
- Hope motivates. Hope helps you bounce back.
- Hope initiates. Hope sets you free to dream.
- Hope activates. Hope is the fuel that makes the world a better place.
Your view of you.
It’s okay to be you. In fact, if you aren’t you, no one else will be!
Remember, “if you think you’re beaten, you are,” according to Walter Wintle. The world today teaches that you aren’t good enough and wants to put you in a box. If you aren’t careful, you can be hoodwinked to trade yourself in for a clone of the world’s “best models”. Your goal should be to be more you today than you were yesterday.
“You were born an original, don’t die a copy” ~John Mason.
Be you! After all, everyone else is taken.
Your beliefs and values.
Ah, yes, the foundation. This is where it all begins. Your thoughts, your core, your character. Your values and beliefs identify you and they will guide you through difficult and challenging times. Call it your moral compass.
Be careful with this area because it’s the slow-erosion process that can lure you away from those solid foundational convictions and values that were ingrained in your heart and soul over many years. Your values define you and they provide the guardrails for your journey.
Friends, these are the things for which you hold the keys. You wouldn’t give someone the keys to your car, house or apartment if you thought they would do you harm, right? Likewise, be protective and diligent to guard your peace, joy, attitude, hope, view of you and beliefs and values.
Thieves may take your identity, your car, your stuff or even your money, but don’t be suckered into giving up the valuable things, the things that will bring you life.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8.