“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus20:17)
The core attitude for stealing is coveting. The inner character damage done by coveting is severe. The society God intends for His people is based on love for neighbors, not envy.
God loves us unconditionally, and he wants us to be the same towards our friends and neighbors. Further than that, people that we don’t even know and just friends, that we have not met yet, so we are to treat them with the same unconditional love as well. If we can do this, then we are modeling the example that Jesus left this world, while He was living in this world. People were looking for a warrior king, but instead we received a servant king, that made friends out of enemies.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You sent us prophets to speak to us for understanding, but we would not listen; You gave us leadership that You anointed but they fell into sin; You used Moses to bring our brothers and sisters out of slavery and towards the Promised Land; You then let Joshua lead them into the Promised Land. You finally sent Your Son into the world, to preach, teach, and heal people for the purpose of leading us back to You as a unified people, serving You and Your will. Help us to remember all that You have done for Your creation, and then help us to understand our responsibility of living to maintain Your creation as You intended it to be. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“How would the gospel message grow if only we spread it?”
“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles feet. Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of he money you received fro the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God’ When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great far seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, ‘Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘that is the price.’ Peter said to her, ‘How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.’ At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” (Acts5:1-11)
Miracles can judge as well as heal. The greed of Ananias and Sapphira produced pre-meditated deception. This a high-handed sin against the Holy Spirit. Peter didn’t pronounce judgment against this couple, the church interpreted it as God’s judgment on their deception. Beloved to use religious acts to gain worldly recognition is a serious sin. Using deception to make the act appear greater than it is compounds the sin. Such an act is not simply a game of deception fooling our friends. It is a lie told to God in the Person of the Spirit.
Material goods are not the only things we covet. We may more often covet personal attention, praise, and prestige. To gain these through unethical means such as lying or telling half-truths is sinful and merits only God’s judgment. The church was the local Jerusalem congregation which witnessed these events. Their fear included reverence, respect, and awe before the astounding acts of God.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1st John2:15-17)
The “world” does not refer to the physical creation but to all aspects of reality that are opposed to and separated from God. To get carried away by worldly lust is to move further from God and become apart of that which opposes Him. The environment in which we live leads us away from God to evil. God’s Spirit leads us away from the world to Christ.
God’s love motivates Christian ethics. Love of the world and desire for its things and ways stands totally opposed to God’s love. Proper love leads on to do God’s will. Christian character centers on knowing and doing the will of God, not on giving into fleshly lusts or worldly pressures to conform. In fact, it takes strong faith to keep from conforming to the world and to be led by God’s Will.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“The commandments, ‘Do not commitment adultery,’ ‘Do no murder,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandments there may be are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans13:9–10)
Loving others is a debt we never can put in full! Christ has given us so much love we are eternally in debt. This is the only debt we have the right to maintain continuously. All other debts should be paid on schedule, because when we maintain other debt, they tend to take us away from doing God’s will.
Christian ethics can be briefly summarized: ‘Love people, and be willing to do for them whatever you would do for yourself.’ I’m not talking about romantic love, or love of family, or love of anything like that. I’m talking about “Agape” love, which is unconditional love and what Jesus model for all of us. You see someone in trouble, you seek to help them not for praise or recognition, but because it is the right thing to do. If we would act this way with family, friends, and yes even strangers, the world would be a better place to live. Amen?