Ephesians 4:17-32; Ezekiel 12-13; Isaiah 43
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” (Ephesians 4:28 NKJV)
Behavior is an important part of your Chistian life. While good behavior won’t get you into heaven, only the grace of God can do that, it reflects on your relationship with God. It also makes an impact on the world.Neither does bad behavior keep you out of heaven, but it does reflect on your relationship with God and makes a negative impact on those around us. This verse comes in the middle of a number of things that Paul admonishes Christians not to do. The interesting thing is the positive aspect of working with our hands instead of stealing: we can give to people in need. God’s word doesn’t teach us to indulge ourselves, it teaches us to give to others and meet their needs.
It’s a sad truth that those who are willing to help others by giving of themselves and their money are often people who are scraping by financially. They’re willing to give because they understand the fear, the problems, the shame (imposed by society on people living in poverty), and the sense of helplessness that financial needs bring. As Christians, once we begin to prosper, we move away from that giving attitude and start hoarding. We move from meeting our own needs and helping others to indulging our whims and ignoring others. This doesn’t mean that luxuries and some form of indulgence is always bad, what it means is that we can’t ignore those around us in need if we’re truly walking with God. We’re usually more concerned with others from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, but what would happen if we kept this attitude of concern for others going all year long? I don’t know for sure, but I’d like to see what happens if we did.
Lord, You’ve given me so much. May I always remember that what I have is a gift from You, and find ways to use the blessings You’ve given to bless others so they may experience Your love.