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Stealing Away

Words of Faith Final

Stealing Away

Words of Faith 3-17-2021

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2021

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Ephesians 4

   [28] He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

 

    We probably don’t immediately think about stealing as a big problem in the life of a believer.  But confidential surveys of adults report some alarming statistics regarding theft.  63% of adults report calling in sick to work when not ill.  63% have taken office supplies from their company for personal use.  16% have taken a valuable item from their company. 50% failed to tell a cashier they were undercharged or received too much change.  37% illegally downloaded music from the Internet. 17% failed to declare taxable income on their tax return or over-reported deductions.  12% had switched price tags to get a lower price. 40% of male teens and 30% of female teens say they stole something from a store in the past 12 months.

      Perhaps more frightening is the fact that Christians are just as likely as non-Christians to falsify their income tax returns, lie to their employer about being sick, bribe to obtain a building permit, steal from the workplace, or selectively obey laws.

     The Spirit of God speaks to this.  He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. The word here means to cheat, defraud or take wrongfully from another person, either legally or illegally. 

     The Spirit calls us to a life of integrity but even more to a different relationship to Him, to people and to things. When we understand that everything belongs to God and we are entrusted to manage some of His things for a time and that He has declared that He will care for His children, theft becomes a non-issue. If we continue to view ourselves as owners, acquirers and conquerors, we will be in rebellious conflict with God and His sovereign plan for our lives.     

      The culture around us desperately needs the witness of Christ that lives and walks with integrity.  A study by James Patterson and Peter Kim found that only 13% of Americans see all ten Commandments as binding and relevant.  91% of Americans regularly lie, both at work and in the home.  Half of the workforce admits they regularly call in sick when they feel perfectly well.

      When asked the question-- "What would you do for $10 million dollars?  25% would abandon their families.  23% would become a prostitute for a week.  7% would murder a stranger.  It is a rather sobering thought that in a gathering of 100 people, seven would be willing to kill another person if the price was right.

      God is clear and specific.  Don’t steal.  Don’t steal by violence, Lev. 6:2-7.  Don’t steal people, Ex. 21:16. Don’t steal livestock, Ex. 22:1-4.  Don’t steal produce, Deut. 23:24-25. Don’t steal through dishonest measurements-- Proverbs 11:1. Don’t steal wages or labor-- Malachi 3:5.  Don’t steal by failing to pay for goods or services -- Ps. 37:21, Eccl. 5:4-5. Don’t steal tithes and offerings from God-- Malachi 3:6-12. 

      The path is clear as well; work diligently.  Share with those in need. Trust that God is providing plenty for you.  Take off the Old person.  Be made new in the attitude of your mind.  Put on the New person in Christ.

 

     Father God, reveal in me any adjustments that are needed.  Build in me an absolute trust in You for everything that I need.  Build in me a witness of integrity.  Build in me a faithfulness that is unwavering.  In Jesus’ Name.

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2010, 2021

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.