Thursday, September 10, 2015

God Knows

They thought they were all so stinking perfect, didn't they?

Ananias wanted to spit on them, but that would probably only solidify the "truth" in the minds of the apostles.

The truth that Ananias wasn't as good a Christian as the others.

He tried. He tried desperately, but failed again and again. He and his wife, Sapphira, diligently tried to help, serve, and give. But it was never enough. Others were always praised instead of them. Now people much poorer then them were selling all they had to help their brothers and sisters in Christ. Ananias envied their freedom of spirit to just give all they had without worrying about their simple needs. However, he couldn't do that. He had bills and cares and needs that needed to be meet.

He supposed Peter would say that meant he wasn't putting his trust fully in God.

Ananias kicked a small rock. He was walking the dusty grounds of a piece of property next to their home. He had bought the land some time ago, and it had served him well. It had certainly been worth the small price he had paid for it.

An idea started to swirl within Ananias's heart. It picked up, gaining intensity like the evening wind stirring dust and leaves at his feet. They could sell this piece of land for a nice profit! Then Ananias could take a portion of the profits to the apostles, and tell them that was the profit they had received from selling the property. It was perfect! No one needed to know the truth! He ran towards the house to tell Sapphira his plan.

His happy steps faltered a little. What about God? Would this matter to Him? He glanced over his shoulder as if expecting to see someone standing there pointing a finger at him.

Ananias shook his head. No. This was silly. He was still giving to God. This white lie wouldn't matter...

Based on Acts 5:1-2

"But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.' When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, 'Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.' And she said, 'Yes, for so much.' But Peter said to her, 'How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.' Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things." Acts 5:1-11

When I read this account, it's very obvious to me that Ananias and Sapphira's great sin, their undoing, the fateful event that led to their downfall was trying to lie to God. Now when I read this, I often gloss over the part about lying to God to get to the point of "don't try to obtain men's praises." I focus on that so much that I just gloss over the "lying to God" point. Probably in a sad effort to avoid thinking about how guilty I am of the same thing.

Because let's face it. We've all tried to do it.

How many times have I tried to fool myself and others that my intentions were really Godly? How many times have I tried to pass my actions off as Holy? How many times have I claimed to be something I'm not? How many times have we tried to lie to God?

No matter how small, slight, or hidden the lie is, it's an abomination to God. It hurts Him. He is all-knowing, all-loving, grace-overflowing, and all-forgiving. Even a stupid lie goes against everything He is. So why do we try to fool ourselves, others, and even God when we know He knows the truth?

Let's be honest with ourselves. God knows that we aren't half the things we claim to be, but He still loves us. So let's stop hiding behind our fake, perfect masks and be the broken, imperfect people we are. God loves that person. God wants that person. Not the fake one.

V. Joy Palmer

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