Stealing the Chocolate
May 28, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
...above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. - Ephesians 6:16.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought (every loose thought and emotion and impulse - MSG) into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. - 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
Luis Augusto Mora of Bogota, Columbia has been given five months in prison. Those five months will be served in La Picota, one of the worst prisons in the country. What terrible thing did Luis do to merit this punishment? He shoplifted two boxes of chocolate bars with a value of eight dollars from a supermarket in Bogota. Luis admits that he is a chocolate addict, but has expressed regret. He says he will, “never touch a chocolate again in my life.” To the credit of the President of the Columbia, Juan Manuel Santos, he says that prosecutors should not waste their time with misdemeanors similar to Luis Mora’s. (KTRK-TV; CBS46.com and various other news venues 05.27.14)
Certainly, even stealing eight dollars of chocolate is a criminal and spiritual offense. It is likely that this was not the first time Luis had stolen chocolate, and probably not the second, or third, or fourth time either. Will five months in one of the worst prisons in Columbia change the heart of Luis and stop him from ever stealing chocolate again? It is doubtful but possible. While I was a parole officer, a man told me that he had served a few years (1930s or 1940s) of hard labor in prison at Oklahoma State Reformatory (OSR). Most of the time after serving time at hard labor in OSR the man was able to stay out of trouble. This was back during the time when the inmates were chipping away at a granite mountain making it into a small mountain. They were also picking cotton and doing other farm labor. For some people though, the threat of punishment is not a deterrent. It has been reported that during colonial times while pickpockets were being hung, in the crowd were other pickpockets still picking pockets.
What is needed is a true change of heart which will only come through a spiritual transformation. A fruit of the Spirit is “self-control (Galatians 5:23).” Growth from being a baby Christian into a mature believer will result in the all of the fruit of the Spirit being manifested in the believer’s life. If we have “self-control” we will not be controlled by our fleshly impulses. Instead, we will be free of momentary impulses that can wreck our lives.
In addition to fleshly impulses, there is another spiritual threat that we face. That threat is from the “fiery darts” of the devil. I believe that those “darts” include thoughts that are sometimes placed into our minds. At times, those evil thoughts can be almost overwhelming, and many succumb to their evil intent. Any thought, which urges you to do anything evil, contrary to what you know God wants could be a thought straight from the pits of hell. You can fight those thoughts with God’s Word. Memorize at least a few verses so that when those thoughts come you can say those verses out loud, or in your mind, and it will defeat the “fiery darts.” This is the example given to us by our Lord Jesus when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4). When the devil tempted Jesus, He responded with Scripture. That is what we need to do too! “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God….”