Stop Stealing (Eph 4:28)
Theft or stealing is common in our day-to-day experiences as many people had been conned or scammed. In Ephesians 4:28, God had instructed believers to stop stealing.
There are many forms of stealing, but as long as we take something that does not belong to us, it is stealing. It does not depend on the value of the item we took. Stealing includes not returning the things we have borrowed from others, or even expecting free things from fellow brethren. We steal from God too if we hold back the giving of our tithes and services. We must remember that all the things that we have (money, time, etc) belong to God. Hence if we do not use them wisely or give our tithes and offering cheerfully as instructed by God in 2 Corinthians 9:7, we have stolen from Him and it is a sin. It is shameful when people know that we have stolen. It will destroy our testimony for God, making us ungodly witnesses. Hence, we must repent and stop stealing. We must return all the items that we had stolen, so as to restore the testimony that we had destroyed, for this is the mark of true repentance (eg: the testimony of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10). We must be ready to bear the consequences or punishments for stealing and do that which is right to restore our godly witness and testimony which is, firstly, to admit and confess to those whom we had stolen from; and secondly, to return the stolen items and seek forgiveness. In doing so, our conscience will be cleared, which is a blessing in itself.
After we have repented from the sin of stealing, we have to stop stealing. We have to labour and work hard for the things we need. We must not murmur and complain or be motivated by material gains from working hard. Rather, we must be ready to work hard for God’s sake. Working hard will bring about a clear conscience so that we are able to sleep peacefully at night. It will also enable us to bless others, especially those in need. We will be able to give to others instead of stealing from them. We must not expect anything in return from the one who receives our gift.
All believers must have the mentality that spiritual things far outweigh material things. If we are faithful to God, He will provide for us. We do not need to steal, but we need to work, toil and labour hard so that we can enjoy the fruit of our labour with a clear conscience and to be able to use them to bless others as well.