ARE YOU TRYING TO IMPRESS WITH YOUR SPIRITUALITY?
Which Scripture passage comes to mind, when you think, “Faking Spirituality”? Do you remember the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira? If not please allow me to refresh your memories, but you can read the full account in chapter five of the Acts of the Apostles.
After Pentecost, having been empowered by the Holy Spirit, the believers lived in love, and shared everything, even their possessions. Those who had property sold it, and brought the money to the Apostles to benefit the entire community. They didn’t have to, but they did because it was the right thing to do, as expressed by John, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him” (1 Jn 3:17)? They did it joyfully, not looking for any recognition, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7b).
One couple, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, like the others, sold a piece of property. The two agreed to give only part of the proceeds to the Apostles, for community use, and that was their right (2 Cor 9:7). When Ananias brought the money though, he wanted the Apostles to believe what he brought was the total amount. Sapphira coming in a few hours after her husband’s report, and not knowing what had transpired a few hours earlier, confirmed her husband’s report, which was a lie. Needless to say they were each rebuked, sharply by the Holy Spirit; they were buried side-by-side, a few hours apart (Acts 5:4-10). It was a good lesson for the rest of the group, and should be for us as well.
Ananias and his wife were not rebuked for surrendering only part of the money; they were rebuked for deception. They were trying to give the impression that like the others, they had surrendered all.
Do you ever pretend to be something that you are really not, do you like to impress others about how often you read your Bible, how much time you spend in prayer, how you do this and the other? Think about it! Do you try to impress others with how often you fast, give to charity, etc? Do you criticize others when you are just as guilty: putting others down so you can appear better (Mt 7:6)? God wants you to be yourself; He sees what you are and what you do, and why. He will take it from there, “And your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:18b). You don’t need the applause and commendation of men; God will reward you in due time.
Jesus called the Pharisees, “White-washed tombs” because they were such hypocrites, “Everything they do is done for men to see” (Mt 23:5). That definitely is “Faking Spirituality.”