All About Me
Acts 5:1 Ananias… sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
As a child, I recall the feeling of jealousy I got when others were recognized and I was not. I must have been six or seven years old when, at the pool, I saw another boy accidentally do a belly flop off the diving board. In pain, he received attention and care from the pretty lifeguard. In my desire for the same attention, I too, did a belly flop. Apparently seeing through my charade, the pretty lifeguard ignored me and I learned a painful lesson.
I would like to say I have retained that lesson, but even as an adult, my pride gets in the way. It may involve fewer literal belly flops these days but the pride remains. When life fell apart due to my addiction, I am sorry to say that at times, I was more consumed with what others thought than I was with the condition of my own soul. When the news officially became public and showed up in the paper nearly a year later, I was consumed with embarrassment. My pride wanted me to leave and never come back.
If faith is keeping our eyes on God, then pride is surely the faith-killer as it causes us to turn our gaze to self. We may want to follow God, but those of us addicted to our pride cannot follow God, as self is all-consuming.
We all know someone who needs to constantly be at the center of attention. The reality is though, most of us live as if we are the center of the universe. Our pride, or focus on self, distracts us from Jesus’ two greatest commands, to love God above all and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Pride destroys faith as it turns our gaze from God to self. Pride is perhaps, the most destructive force we know.
In Acts, we are told the story of a husband and wife, Ananias and Sapphira, who conspired to make themselves the center of attention. In the early church, some Christians sold their land and donated the profit. Ananias and his wife craved the attention lavished on those who gave such gifts. They too sold a piece of land but secretly kept some of the money, claiming they gave it all. In their pride, they desired recognition, but in their greed, they could not give everything. God was apparently not conned. Through Peter, He confronted the couple and both were immediately struck dead.
Their pride led to multiple sins. They were focused on self instead of God. They were jealous of the recognition given to others. They were greedy. They were deceptive. Ultimately, they lied to the disciples, the church and to God. Their final sin was to claim that they were doing for God. Pride, like a drug, was an addiction that consumed and ultimately destroyed Ananias and Sapphira.
We may not do belly flops or lie to the church, but most of us live as though we are the center of the universe. Jesus insisted though, that as Christians, we are to pursue radically different lives. We are to live in faith, recognizing that God is at the center of it all. It is not all about me.