Love and Integrity

I try to be encouraging to everyone around me, however, I am constantly being reminded of how inadequate I am in God’s righteousness. Why? Because I have a pride issue that I must work on every day. It’s a familiar battle that I believe most of us face each day but don’t always keep it in the forefront of our minds. I asked God for guidance this morning and He showed me Acts 5:1-4.

But a certain man named Ananias,with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it a the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Once I read that, I knew that my conscience was telling me to recognize how all sin, not matter if we think we are getting away with it or not, is offensive to God. The Presidential race comes to mind and I have to call out all of the candidates (past and present). There are a very few people who have the integrity to hold this office and perhaps only 1 or 2 people who meet this criteria joined in at the very beginning. None of them are still in it, but the two candidates we have to choose from are demonstrating the worst in the character of a person. One bases his campaign on name calling, and the other believes her powers of intimidation and money will grant her the kingdom. This is a real problem because all of it must be offensive to God Almighty.

Everything we do, even if no one on earth finds out about it, if it’s against God’s holiness and His Holy Spirit, it is sin and it is punishable with death. Our main focus is making sure our image in front of the rest of the world is sparkly, but when God sees our hearts, He sees the muck and foulness of our attitudes and is deeply offended. Winning the seat of the Presidency does not guarantee omnipotence, and yet that’s the illusion of the candidates until one of them finally makes it into the White House. There is no physical guarantee of freedom from peril.

I think what’s interesting is in the rest of the story in Acts, Ananias and Sapphira actually fall over dead immediately after being confronted with their deceit. This shows how deeply God is offended by our sin. I think we have a hard time believing He’s that offended because no one just drops dead like that in the midst of confrontation of their sin. But what if it did happen like that more often? Would we listen? Would we care?

That’s kind of a catch twenty-two. We would listen and care but because of fear for our lives,not love of God. God wants us to love Him enough to have the integrity to confess our intentions. To admit when we feel like we need to keep something and then trust to obey to give it away anyway. It’s not easy but it is very rewarding. The community in this story in Acts were blessed with “great grace” and no one suffered any lack because everything was shared with each other.

I believe we and our Presidential candidates could take this story and apply it our lives. We would be a great country again if we remembered the grace God gave us 200 years ago when we honored Him first in all things. Demonstrating integrity in every part of our lives is essential, even if no one is around to see because ultimately it’s God who sees it all. His holiness requires separation from any unholy activity, so that means those of us who sin deserve to be separated from Him. Hence, the miracle of Jesus Christ who died for all of our sins so we can be reunited in righteousness with Him. How’s that for love and integrity?

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