Sometimes keeping up with the Joneses has huge consequences. Some are willing to compromise their integrity to be impressive. Integrity is a critical component in building trust, and its lack undermines our relationship with the Lord and others.
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. 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. 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 5: 1-4
When the New Testament church was being formed, people were selling their possessions and giving them to others (See Acts 2:44-45). Ananias and Sapphira heard the news of others’ generosity, so they decided to give a portion of their proceeds but acted like they gave everything. They sought to be impressive by keeping up with the “Joneses”, but they did not have the heart to give away all of their money.
The scripture tells us to give generously and cheerfully without compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). God did not expect them to give away all their money, neither did the apostles. Ananias and Sapphira collaborated and lied about their giving to get the approval of others. They acted like they had sold their land for less, but they kept part of the money for themselves. The Lord allowed them to get caught by revealing what was in their heart. Peter told them that they lied to God, and God took their lives over it..
We need to be careful not to fall into exaggeration or lying to be impressive. If someone is exaggerating a fact, they lose credibility in my eyes. Then I tend to question most things they tell me. Many people struggle with relational issues. What if a lack of integrity is the culprit to many of these issues!? We all desire to have good relationships, but we don’t think about our integrity impacts those relationships. The desire to be impressive is like the bowl of stew that caused Esau to despise his inheritance (See Genesis 25:29-34). We also lose the blessing of having solid and trusting relationships when we are willing to lay down our integrity to be impressive.
It is better to live a life of contentment and truthfulness than trying to be impressive or seek others’ approval. In truth, being impressive lasts only a moment, and then we have to repeat it again. On the contrary, our relationship with the Lord and others should be long lasting ,and we should guard and nurture them by being people of integrity.