Well, I'm glad to hear that you recognized the gesture of my question.
We all have been found by Jesus on some other tragic path of our own making. Most times it's the pain and anguish of our former path which desperately had us searching for escape and rescue.
For instance, Jesus found me over 40 years ago on the path of a 'career criminal'. It wasn't that I didn't know that stealing was wrong. Quite the contrary, I knew full well that the path was highly immoral but I couldn't see a departure point. I was so wounded and bruised in my inner man that I was unable to keep regular employment for more than a few days. So, the only alternative I believed that I was left with at the time was stealing.
Today, I was thinking about what an incredible paradox my life has been.
When I was without knowledge of God, I was busy being a thief.
After coming to know God, I became busy wrestling against the most treacherous thief of all.
Of course, spiritual thieves are far more treacherous and damaging than any criminal could ever conceive.
I got to thinking about my former path today and began to smile to myself about the paradox of it all.
For instance, I remembered the day that I stumbled into my first safe. I had neither an idea nor the tools to break it open. As you might imagine, I was greatly disappointed. So, I set out to learn as much as I could about safes. I broke into safe stores and spent a few nights in them to learn about their weaknesses and strengths. It wasnt too long afterwards that I gained the reputation as a safe cracker.
Before my hearing the Gospel, spiritual thieves had also spent many days an' nights examining the safe-keeping of my being for weakness and vulnerabilities. They too were determined to break into my existence and steal everything of value. After all, they were eternal specialists at stealing treasures from the containers of inner men.
What a paradox, ay?
But here is the flip side of the story:
With the recent advent of cellular technology and advanced surveillance techniques, all the knowledge and skills I had learned about burglary in times past have mostly become redundant. It would not be possible for me to be as successful a thief today as it was formerly. My burglary skill-sets have become nearly obsolete.
And, thats exactly what happened too when I heard the Gospel. The skills and devices of my spiritual thieves began to become weakened and redundant. I had acquired new defense systems to protect my inner man from the thieves. I no longer remained easy prey; they could not plunder my inner man so easily as before.
When I was on that destructive path, I would occasionally bump into thieves who never learned the advanced skills required to conduct large scale criminal theft. They were limited to what are known as 'smash-an-grab' incidents. They would simply walk down the street, smash a window and hurry off with the valuables displayed behind it.
Thats how I think about spiritual thieves now.
They are unable to rape my inner man any longer. They are limited to 'smash-an-grab instances.
Of course, this doesnt mean that I let my guard down and somehow let their juvenile thievery continue uncontested. Because one dark night the thief might decide to not only smash the window into my inner man and hurriedly steal; he could very well begin to feel sufficiently confident to leap through the open window and tour my entire secret place and steal a lot more than I might suspect.
So it is that today my life is now not one of being mindlessly raped and conquered; its instead minor smash-and-grabs. I can survive and recuperate intact through the occasional smash-an-grab easily enough.
A few years ago, when I was leading a former accomplice to Christ, he knelt down and said something that really touched me: "Jesus, please steal my heart like I have stolen so many people's money".
At the time, I never interrupted to tell him about how Jesus doesn't exactly steal a person's heart.
But afterwards I got to thinking about that prayer of his and it gave me the title of a book I'm now writing, "The Land of Stolen Spirits".