…” If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.” Eph. 4:28 NLT
I just looked at America’s national debt clock. We are currently $14,272.208,…,… in debt. We are spending about $1,301,087,950,… more a year than we take in. The dots stand for numbers changing too quickly to write down.
If we are going to stand through the storms coming on the world, we are going to have to change some things individually. If we want our country to stand through those same storms, we are going to have to change some things culturally.
Paul says “stop stealing!”
Right up front that means, “If you’re breaking and entering CUT IT OUT!”
I do trust, however, that most of my readers are not moon-lighting as cat burglars. That doesn’t mean this verse has nothing to say to us. Culturally we have issues with wanting things that don’t belong to us… that is things God never intended for us to have. We spend more than we earn and think this is somehow O.K. with the Lord. A mindset exists which says “surely God would not deny me anything I want.”
I challenge you to find that in the Bible. What you will find is this : “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Psalm 23:1 NIV
David puts the onus on us. God shepherds. God provides. Therefore we will not allow ourselves to be wanting what He hasn’t provided. Wanting to acquire things outside of God’s provision is coveting. Taking things that God has not provided so easily turns into stealing.
I know what I’m talking about here, because I’ve lived beyond my means to the brink of financial ruin. I nearly took my whole family down with me. The recovery process has been slow and painful but necessary, if I am to stand through what lies ahead.
Tolstoy said “Wealth is knowing what you can live without.”
I am in the process of learning just that. Like so many of my fellow Americans I have a problem with self-control; Self-control, is a fruit of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22. It’s not something I can produce in great quantities naturally. However God can!
In the verse above, Paul is very clear about what we must do in order to stop a stealing spirit from inhabiting our hearts. When we work hard at honest labor and when we give generously to others, the Holy Spirit is given a door way into our lives which allows Him to come in and create self-control.
In the hour it has taken me to type this blog our national debt has increased to $14,727,327,…,…! It’s up to us to change. No one else can do it for us.
We’ve gotta stand!
I must confess. I am a thief. No, I do not steal money. It is worse than that.
You see, I steal from God – the perfect, almighty creator God.
I know that I am not my own, because I have been bought with a price. I know I have been redeemed and that my old nature was crucified with Christ – but so often I choose to allow it to raise its ugly head and influence me to rob from God – to rob Him of His way in my life; to rob Him of time that should be spent in His presence and in His service; to rob Him of opportunities to reach others through me . . . and the list goes on.
What an amazing God that even though I do this, He is ALWAYS waiting for me to turn back to Him and He is ALWAYS welcoming and ready to use me again.
What a truly amazing God!
A-men Angela. He is an amazing God! Truly so many times we take what is God’s and we use it for our own selfish and sinful purposes. I weep at the number of times I have done this. I weep over the potential lost. Yet God comes with his redeeming power and restores that which I wasted in order to fulfill His promise. For even when we are fiathless He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself! Oh thank You Jesus!
Pastor J, this is such an amazing truth for me. This is just what God has been speaking to my heart lately. There are certain areas in my life in which self-control is out of control. I trust God will prevail in these areas. Praise God that He is the one in control for only through Him will self-contol come. I thank God that He is transforming my mind for I know the fruit of self-control will come to pass. Hallelujah!!!!!!
Indeed it shall! As we turn and more and more behold His glory, He radiates and tranforms us through His glory beheld!
Ooooouuuuuchhhhh!! good word!
Thanks Angela! 🙂 Hope I didn’t break anything!
There is so much in this that speaks to my heart and life. That’s why He has you write these, isn’t it? 🙂 There is that constant pull to “steal”, to covet what He hasn’t provided. Thank you for helping me to see what He has provided, to see the good in it, the miracle of His care over me today. 🙂 And I was so encouraged by self-control being something that He can do in us!
God bless you, Pastor J, as you stand in Him today!
Hi Debbie, I just read a book by Mary Pipher called WRITING TO CHANGE THE WORLD. I found so much in it that spoke to me about why I really want to write. You aand I are “change writers”. The very nature of the things we write about change people. I am glad I am hitting my mark, as do you with your poetry!