Skip to main content

Honest Living

Earlier this year, the American musician Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was summoned before a Judge in the US to explain his lifestyle. The reason for the Court summon is that last year 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy saying he couldn’t afford to pay debts of between $10m and $50m. 


The only problem is that a cursory look at his Instagram feed reveals a very different impression of his life. In one photo, 50 Cent is photographed buried under $100 notes, presumably struggling to find his feet. In another photo he has stocked his refrigerator with bundles of dollars. This naturally baffled his creditors. How can 50 Cent claim to be bankrupt when his  Instagram profile shows that he is  drowning in money?


50 Cent’s response in his court submission was simple : “the piles of money in the photos is just prop money….Just because I am photographed next to an expensive vehicle, wearing Jewellery or sitting with tonnes of money does not mean that I own everything in those photos.” 50 Cent is in effect saying that his life is all a mere projection of an image of success. He is essentially saying, he is just renting a lifestyle he can’t afford. It is fake it until you make it! Everyone does it!

He is sadly right. The truth is that living an honest life is in short supply! We all want to live a comfortable life beyond our means. If we can afford it, we would rather just eat, drink and play! And many of us commit all sorts of deception to try and live comfortable! Anything from deceiving people about what we own, drowning in debt, stealing from others, or dodging work!


Apostle Paul writing to new followers of Jesus at Ephesus reminds them and us, that "dishonest living" is not how God intends for us to live. Becoming a child of God through Jesus is a game changer. Here is how he puts it in Ephesians 5:8: “In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. Light brings every kind of goodness, right living, and truth”. In short, Paul is saying, that living the Christian life is about becoming outside who we already are inside. Part of this exterior transformation is living an honest life.

Paul zones in on this point in Ephesians 4:28, “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need”. In other words because we are now children of God, we must live honestly through fruitful work so that we may share what we have with others! 

A couple years ago, an Anglican Vicar in York, Tim Jones told his congregation during Christmas that it's better to shoplift than commit other forms of robbery or prostitution. He added that people should not steal from small family business, but from large national businesses because their costs are ultimately passed onto us in form of higher prices! The police rightly responded by saying, “justify shoplifting under any circumstances is highly irresponsible”.

The Bible is clear that all stealing is wrong. As Paul reminds us, “anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer”. Sadly, many of us don't think that applies to us. We think stealing is something others do! But Paul is speaking to bonafide followers of Jesus! He says we must stop it! Stop taking what does not belong to you!

The Bible is clear that all of us are born handcuffed to our sinful nature, and this nature including stealing. We cannot help ourselves. Stealing takes many forms in our lives. It may be simply downloading internet movies, music and sports illegally. It may be taking stuff the hotel room without paying. One statistic says 68% of UK travellers confess stealing a towel in hotels.

Stealing manifest itself when we go to car repair garages that tells us to pay cash so that we don’t pay VAT. It may simply be borrowing things, especially books without returning them! I have long concluded that one should never lend a book to another Christian. It better to just give them because most Christians never return what you lend them. Another common form of theft is buying things on credit or running up an overdraft and then refusing to pay debt. Lying on the CV to get that job over the summer is also stealing because it deprives other people better qualified to have the job, not to mention employer.

We all steal in various ways because it our nature to steal. The good news is that if you are a follower of Jesus, God has broken the power of sin in your life. You are a new person in Jesus! Stealing is not who you are! You only steal because you choose to steal. You forget that God is now your Father. Therefore you must now live honestly to reflect His character! Our God is not a thief. It is the devil who is a thief.

Most importantly,  dishonesty is the opposite of love. It takes from people instead of expressing love through giving. Our God is our loving Father. So we too must be givers not takers. As Paul later says to the church at Ephesus, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Maybe you are currently trapped in constant lying to people, stealing or any kind of fraudlent lifestyle. You fear what change may mean for you. You are asking, is there any way back? If you belong to Jesus there is always hope. The same Jesus who saved you, now lives inside of you. He is not only able to change your life, He is with You and wants to change you. You matter to Him! So why not bring all your deception, all your fears, all your shame before Jesus? Repent from sin and depend on His grace! Then share your struggles with another follower of Jesus.

Maybe you have not truly committed your life to Jesus. You know that you are living dishonestly! You know deep down that you can never ever be good enough to get into heaven You are not alone. No one is good enough to go to heaven. But I have good news for you. God has put your life of sin, all of it, on Jesus and nailed him to the cross for you sin. But, you must accept this penalty for yourself by coming to God this morning, and ask Jesus to forgive you! Start a new a new exciting life with Jesus. Will you choose Jesus or will continue living a life of deception far from God? Choose Jesus! It is the wise choice

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2016

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jesus Never Fails

Many a times in my life, the words of this childhood hymn has been a tremendous encouragement. I pray this may encourage you too. Keep looking to Jesus! Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails. Your mother will let you down Your father will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails. Your husband will let you down Your wife will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your brothers will let you down Your sisters-will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your church will let you down Your work will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your friends will let you down Your country will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your wealth will let you down Your health will let you down The man of the world

God on the Brain - A Review

A Christian understanding of human nature holds that human beings are made in the image of God. As His image bearers we are created by God with an immaterial soul that survives death. This soul comes with the capacity and moral inclination to know and relate to God. All of this means that for Christians how we regard the relationship between the soul and the brain matters because it affects the validity of the Gospel.  The good news of Jesus presupposes some fundamental things about our human nature. It assumes that we are moral beings who have fallen off an objective moral standard and in need of forgiveness. It tells us that death is not the end. We must one day give an account. Most importantly, Jesus who is fully God and fully man is our only hope for life with God.  This good news of Jesus has become increasingly challenged by a materialist worldview of the brain led by secular neuroscientists. They argue that science and faith in God are opposed to one another; religious belief e

An Empty Page

I am nothing without you I am not ashamed to say But sometimes still I doubt you along my way I am nothing without you An eagle with no wings If I forget about you, I lose everything My heart is an empty stage O let your play begin My life is an empty page for you to colour me with your love It’s such a common feeling to be misunderstood But from you there’s no concealing You know my bad and good So I am not pretending my story never fails But I have already read the ending And your love prevails My heart is an empty stage Let your play begin My life is an empty page for you to colour me with your love The words are from Jonathan Veira’s song Empty Page one of the tracks off ‘ Rhythms of the Heart’ album. I like his music, especially this song. Sadly, I couldn’t find the lyrics online, so I had to write them down word for word. I have had this song for many years and it has always spoken me at many levels.