“If you can’t be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?” The lab’s technical director had great one-liners. Maybe he got this one from somewhere, but I had not heard it before. The obvious answer is “no one,” but another valid answer is “God.”
In Acts 5:1-11, we read about a man and a woman who conspired to lie to God. They did not set out to try to trick God, but by lying to God’s people, they were guilty of lying to God. What was the lie? They sold some property and donated all of the proceeds of the sale to the church. What was the truth? They sold some property and donated SOME of the proceeds to the church. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, does it?
Ananias and Saphira were NOT wrong in selling a property and keeping part of the proceeds for themselves. That was perfectly fine. They could have also simply sold the property and kept all of the proceeds. That would also have been acceptable. No big deal. What they said about what they did was a big deal. They wanted the notoriety, the acclaim, the public praise for having done something to help others. That desire for social standing led them to tell a lie. That was a big deal. It cost them their lives.
Surely, none of us today would do this. If we sell a property, we can give the profit to whomever we wish, even if we simply give it to ourselves. But what if we wanted to gain social standing? We might not sell a house, but we might put in our time, energy, or something else that our friends, family, and neighbors will notice. We might talk up that contribution as being 100%. We might be lying before God. We might have to answer for it.
God doesn’t strike people dead in such a dramatic fashion as He did in Acts 5, but we should fear to draw attention to our own holiness and piety. Truth be told, none of us are actually all that righteous. Christ credits His disciples with HIS holiness, but His disciples recognize that whatever godliness we possess is a paltry thing not worth bragging about. His disciples must not act holy to increase our social standing (a.k.a. hypocrisy), but we act and live for the glory of God. God deserves the glory; disciples simply reflect His glory.
How do you feel about Christians? If you believe that they act “holier than thou,” then I offer you this challenge. Sit down with me over an open Bible. Let’s study the glory of God together. God’s Scripture is honest toward all. If we can’t be honest with God, who can we be honest with? We would love for you to drop by Sunday: 9:15 or 10:30!