Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...the real thing

Wednesday Weekly Word is a post once a week that I designate for sharing my reflections on whatever I am personally studying. Currently, I am doing a study on leaving a legacy. These are my thoughts on how my life can make a difference for those around me watching and learning. It is my prayer that you will also walk with me as we look to God's Word today.

As I look around me I see so many things that are artificial. In our homes, what looks like wood isn't really ... it is laminate. What looks like brick or stone isn't really ... it is stone facade. Not only are the materials in our homes not the real thing, but what about our bodies? false teeth, hair transplants, hair color, cosmetic surgery. All of these things, even though artificial, are made to make our lives better.

One area of our life that artificial is not good is in our walk with the Lord. Artificial Christianity is so far from the real thing! This week I was reading in chapter 5 of Acts, the story of Ananias and Sapphira. What a lesson about being an authentic Christian.

ACTS 5:1,2 "Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. (2) 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."

Earlier in Acts, we can read that the church at that time had what I call a very intense and caring fellowship. They not only met and studied frequently, but they also shared meals and shared their financial resources to help those in need.

Ananias and Sapphira wanted it to look like they were participating in this way. However, they held back and they decided that they would reserve a portion of the sale of their property for themselves. They said they gave it all but in reality they were not being real in their Christianity.
What happened to Ananias and Sapphira?
Were they being greedy?

God does not reveal to us the reason they lied to the Holy Spirit, but reading further in chapter 5, I see how God dealt with their sin.

ACTS 5:3-5 "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 the money you received for the land? (4) 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.' (5) When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened."

Last week, in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the question, "How do you react most often when you are called on the carpet for something." The top 3 responses were:

1. 50% of those polled, said that they get defensive even if they are wrong.
2. 25% of the readers voted and said that they can't hide it if they are guilty.
3. 8% voted and said that they act guilty whether they are or not.

The sentence of death may seem pretty harsh in today's "tolerant" society, I am glad that when I mess up, God does not strike me down dead! But the eye opener for me and the lesson to learn is not so much that Ananias and Sapphira both were struck dead for their dishonesty but the fear of the Lord is what jumped off the pages here for me.

God does not execute hypocrites today, if He did... well just think about it -people would be dropping everywhere! This story reveals the importance of authenticity in the life of the church and in the lives of Christians.

We have to be the kind of Christians that we say we are!
We have to be the real thing!

A healthy way to avoid hypocrisy is having spiritual honesty. We ALL have shortcomings. The Bible says that "we ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God". When we confront others about what they are doing wrong, we should only do so after a prayerful self-examination. We need to be open to be confronted in the same way for things we ourselves may be doing wrong.

We will ALWAYS have people like Ananias and Sapphira, but if we each commit to strive for spiritual honesty, our witness will resound as the real thing!


YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL: please vote in this weeks poll! Find it located on the side bar of this blog. YOUR OPINION REALLY DOES MATTER!


Beth in NC said...

Great post my friend. I think we should always be transparent.

Debbie said...

God takes sin seriously. In our culture, people have become used to making excuses and justifying their behavior. I do this because of this.

I think we also need to be open to learn and grow. Having people that we are accountable to is a big help for me.

Great post Laurie.

Tea With Tiffany said...

Thank you for your recent comment on my Laced with Grace devo.

Appreciate knowing you wanted to live out the day with actions that speak love.

Laurie Ann said...

Great post, Laurie! Living our lives authentically for Christ is definitely the way to go! Looking forward to March 13, too!

June said...

Thank you so much for stopping by
today. What fun sharing.

Loved your post


Peggy said...

Blessings Laurie...Amazing insights & correlation. I even loved the graphic you chose! How true your words and the call for all of us to be the "REAL " thing...authentic Christians! Spiritual honesty (actually any honesty) is very important to me to be! I was reading Acts this week also!

This speaks to me...because I have always lived in the heaviness of not being the best witness I could have been to those who matter most.