Advent: Be Honest


Day Six: When No One’s Watching

But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest (Acts 5:1-2, NLT).

Many years ago when we were serving as foster parents, we had a young man in our home who was under close scrutiny because of some run-ins he’d had with fire setting in the community. 

One day a neighbor very innocently commented on how she had seen our foster son riding his bike in an unexpected place. Right after that conversation I received a call from our town officer regarding a fire in a dumpster on the opposite side of town. I was able to assure him it wasn’t our boy, because I knew where he was.

When he got home a while later, I asked our son where he had been. He knew I wouldn’t ask the question without already knowing the answer, so he owned up that he had been trying to find where a girl he was interested in lived. He apologized for being somewhere without permission.

I accepted his apology and he lost use of his bike for the rest of the weekend. He gave me no grief for the consequence, but turned back to ask how I knew where he had been. I told him about both conversations I had, and reminded him that someone is always watching.

The scripture teaches us that same principle. We may think we can get away with negative choices because no one is around, but God always sees. And we might lose more than our bike for the weekend when he levies the consequences.

TO PONDER: They say that integrity is choosing to do the right thing when no one is looking. For a building to stand the storms of life it needs structural integrity. To stand firm spiritually, we need spiritual integrity. Remember God is always watching—not just to catch you doing wrong, but celebrating your good and godly choices.

TO DISCUSS: The problem for Ananias and his wife laid in the twisted thinking that could get away from doing right if no one was watching. What they didn’t count on was God always seeing and knowing our choices. We lie to cover our selves and our choices. Can we ever deceive or hide the truth from God?

PRAYER: God, the story of Ananias is not the easiest to read. His consequences seem harsh. Help us to understand this wasn’t just about keeping a piece of the offering. Help us to understand your anger against sin, against deceit, against living the truth. And may all our choices reflect our love for you. Amen.

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