Every born-again Christian has been given exceedingly great and wonderful promises by the Word of God, things that we have available for the taking, peace, joy, blessing, healthy bodies, and much more.  But does that mean every Christian will walk in those blessings?  Let’s explore that today.
    Imagine someone told you the local Cadillac dealer was giving away a new car to everyone who came in today and asked for one. Likely you would shrug it off as untrue and not even bother to look into it, because nothing is free, right?  A few days later your neighbor invited you to test drive their brand new Cadillac and told you it was given to them for free.  Of course you ask how that happened.  Well, he said, someone told me they were giving them away to anyone who came in and asked for one, so I decided I had nothing to lose, and here it is.  Did you get yours?
    I don’t know about you, but about then I’d be kicking myself hard for passing up such an offer.  No, they aren’t giving away Cadillacs, but there is something far more valuable you can have for free, and that is salvation for your soul.  Along with salvation comes the promises I mentioned at first which by virtue of your relationship with Christ Jesus, makes you eligible for the “benefits” mentioned in Psalm 103:1-6, where it is written,
Psa 103:1  Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Psa 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Psa 103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Psa 103:4  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Psa 103:5  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psa 103:6  The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
 Now I don’t know about you, but I LIKE BENEFITS.  And if it wasn’t for the devil out there, whom the Lord Jesus called the thief in John 10:10, life would be real good.  However, Jesus said,
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
And guess what?  Those benefits the LORD wants you to have, the thief DOESN’T want you to have, so he will try to steal them from you.  And he will, too, if you aren’t diligent to keep watch over what is yours.  Nobody would deliberately be inattentive if they knew a burglar was coming to their house at 7pm to steal all their goods.  No, they would be armed and ready for the intruder, and would defend their home.  But how is it, people are so lax when it comes to watching over their God-given “benefits”?
    There are many ways the devil tries to steal from us, and when he manages to do so, it has a potential of destroying our relationship with God.  Now understand this; God isn’t the problem.  He isn’t a thief, the devil is the thief, but the devil will try to twist your mind into thinking God is the one causing your problems because you aren’t perfect in all your ways, so God is punishing you for this or that.  The truth is, there is no truth in the devil at all, never has been, and there never will be.  He went to work on Eve in the Garden of Eden to tell her that God was holding out on them, thereby deceiving her into giving up God’s blessings.  We can read about it in Genesis 3:1-
 Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Gen 3:2  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Gen 3:3  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Gen 3:4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Gen 3:5  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Gen 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Gen 3:7  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Gen 3:8  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Gen 3:9  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
Gen 3:10  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Gen 3:11  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
Gen 3:12  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Gen 3:13  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Gen 3:14  And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Gen 3:16  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Gen 3:17  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Gen 3:18  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
Gen 3:19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
    One of the first things I noticed in this passage is that Adam blamed God for giving him Eve, and then blamed Eve for his own disobedience.  In doing so, he shipwrecked his relationship with God and all hope of restoring himself  and Eve to their former estate, forfeiting their benefits, so to speak.  Do you notice here that Adam and Eve didn’t ask God to forgive them for their disobedience?  Oh, I’m sure they were sorry after being thrown out of the Garden of Eden, but by then it was too late.  You see, one of the ways the devil works to steal from us is to get us to voluntarily give up what belongs to us.  And what we won’t willingly give him, he will try to steal.
    I’ve known people who got saved, and then when the devil afflicted them for one reason or another they blamed God for their troubles. By the way, the devil doesn’t need a reason, because he’s a thief, remember?  Well, It never occurred to them the problem might be because they got lax in watching over the Word of God in their life, keeping in mind to believe Him and obey Him in all things.  It’s easy to shipwreck your faith, just turn loose of it and let it go, like driving down the road in your car and taking your hands off the steering wheel and letting it go where it wants to go.  It may stay on the road for a while, but sooner or later, and most likely sooner, it will go off the road and crash and you’ll be sorry you didn’t take charge and drive it.
   Paul admonished Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:18-19, This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
   Now why did Paul tell to hold onto his faith?  Because if he didn’t, the devil would steal it from him and he would end up shipwrecked like others who had been neglectful.  God didn’t create you to fail, He wants you to overcome in every circumstance, and He gives you the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, however, there WILL be trials in your life, and the devil is determined to destroy you by any means he can.  If he can’t steal your money, he will try to ruin your relationships with your family and others. Or he may steal your joy by putting you in unpleasant circumstances, or attack your health.
   The devil will do all he can to discourage you and make you give up.  You must stand fast in your faith if you want to enjoy the benefits God offers you, and believe me, your faith will be tried many times during your lifetime.  The bottom line is this: faith is necessary, for you can’t please God without it.  But your faith WILL work, because God gave you His very own faith, and it always accomplishes the thing whereunto God sends it.  Just don’t expect to put yourself in “cruise control” mode and think it will take no effort on your part.  No, the wheel of the ship of your life is still in YOUR hands, and you have an active part in choosing whether to nourish your relationship with God or not.
   If you want the benefits that God has made available to you, then act like it!  If you’re not drawing close to God on a daily basis, then you’ve turned loose of your faith, and soon when you really need it, where faith once abounded, doubt and unbelief will have crept in, and your faith will be shipwrecked, unable to work for you.  So keep your ears tuned to God’s voice, your eyes upon the Word, and your hands upon the wheel as you navigate the rocky shoreline. Don’t shipwreck your faith.