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 will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Copyri…

Pornography as Occultism

There is a kind of helplessness that a man engaged in pornography exhibits. He often speaks of it in terms of a “struggle” or an “addiction.” Now both of those terms are accurate, I believe, but they distance a person from his sin in a soul-decaying manner. Pornography is not just an addiction; it is occultism. The man who sits upstairs viewing pornography while his wife chauffeurs the kids to soccer practice is not some unusual “pervert”; he is (like his forefather Adam) seeking the mystery of the universe apart from Christ. That’s the reason the one picture, stored in his memory, of that naked woman will never be enough for him. He will never be able to be satisfied because he will never be able to get an image naked enough. I say pornography is occultism because I believe the draw toward it is more than biological (though that is strong). The satanic powers understand that “the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). They understand that the pornographic …

7 fascinating facts about Bexleyheath

I just finished reading Bexleyheath : A History by John Mercer as part of my effort to know a little about the history of our new local area. We have been living here for the last four months and it is a wonderful area indeed. Here are seven fascinating things about Bexleyheath mentioned in the book.

1. Two hundred years ago much of Bexley Heath was an area of wide-open land largely uncultivated. It was not until 1894, that the two words were put together.

2. On 5 June 1739, George Whitfield, a prominent preacher associated with John Wesley, came to the highway and preached by the pond opposite the Golden Lion. He was welcomed to the district by Henry Piers, Vicar of St Mary's (Bexley), who was a supporter of the new evangelical movement which was to become later known as the Methodist Church. Over 300 gathered to hear Whitfield preach from his horse: travellers, labourers, gypsies and villagers from Bexley village.
3. One of the early inhabitants of Bexlyheath was the polish emigre …