Jesus said, It is not possible for anyone to enter the house of a strong man and take it by force unless he binds his hands; then he will (be able to) ransack his house. (35)
Jesus is not giving us instructions on how to be a thief, he is telling us how to not be overcome and looted spiritually. Of course, it is all symbolic of the way the spirit which dwells in the house of the body becomes rendered helpless and despoiled.
Many are the thieves that lurk about seeking to steal our spiritual and mental property. In Revelation Jesus says to us: “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11). Our crown is our spiritual destiny which the Beloved Disciple outlined, saying: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2). And Saint Paul: “The mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26, 27). The revelation of our inner Christ is our crown which we must guard diligently against losing to thieves.
And who are these thieves? Anything which hinders or erodes our spiritual progress. There are a lot of them, which is why we have to be so vigilant against their incursion into the house of our mind and heart. The hands that bind are the inhibition of our spiritual powers and the knowledge of their use, for they are the tools of our self-evolution. Once we lose our spiritual insight and empowerment, we shall become enslaved and ruthlessly pillaged by the thieves we let into our house through neglect and carelessness. The result is often–if not usually–spiritual death.
This is no idle fancy or exaggeration. Throughout my life I have seen people who were doing well and progressing spiritually suddenly fall and become totally ruined in body, mind and spirit. Very few ever recovered from it. I have known people that radiated goodness and purity, whose love and dedication for God were unquestioned. And I have seen them struck down by even small things that they were not on their guard to resist. Their hands were bound and they lost the life of the spirit through that bondage. Their grief and misery pervaded the rest of their lives. One or two escaped from the swamp, but remained crippled for the rest of their life, dim in consciousness, mechanical and rote in their religious life.
So we must make our hands strong and skilled and be on our guard at all times. As Saint Paul further said: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1). Pararrueo means to slip from our grasp the way water taken in our hand escapes our grasp. It also implies an extremely easy slipping away–again like water.
The best way to keep our spirit-hands strong is simple: constant use through always pushing onward to new spiritual territory, never letting them rest, but always busy in the real work, the “one thing needful” (Luke 10:38-42). If we do so, then Jesus guarantees that we shall have “treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth” (Luke 12:33).
Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Live Carefree