Thursday, October 15
No more image management
Scripture: Malachi 3-4, Psalm 148, Acts 5
Acts 5:3–4 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”
Acts 4:32 says, “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.”
The early church was awash in generosity. People were selling extra property and giving the proceeds to meet the needs of the poor. In that atmosphere, Ananias and Sapphira did the same, but over-inflated the the truth of their generosity. They claimed to give all when in fact they kept part of the proceeds. They lied.
Peter makes it clear that the issue was lying to God and men—not keeping part of the money. The property was theirs to keep or sell, and the proceeds from the sale was theirs to keep or give. They weren’t required or expected to sell the property or give away all the proceeds. It belonged to them; it was their decision. So the issue was their dishonesty.
Why did they lie? The only reason that comes to mind is image management: they wanted to look better than they really were. It’s behind much of our dishonesty. We want people to think more highly of us—so we pad the truth.
What happened to them should make it clear what God thinks of our deception and image management! Thankfully, He hasn’t struck me dead the many times I’ve done this. But He still doesn’t like it and doesn’t want me to stretch the truth to make myself look better.
I want to be conscious of the temptation to image management, to make myself look better than I am, to stretch the truth (even a little) to impress others. It’s a very real temptation for me! I want to speak the truth without embellishment, without image management. Just being me is ok—it’s enough. Jesus knows me as I am, and loves me. If that’s enough for Him, it will have to be enough for others.
Say no to dishonest image management!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the many times I’ve padded the truth to make myself look better, and help me to leave that behavior behind and be honest about myself.