As we drove into the city, the skyline was absolutely breathtaking. Modern architecture, coupled with water all around made for a scenic drive. There was well built infrastructure such as roads and bridges. People were driving the latest cars. Panama City, Panama appeared to be a classy metropolitan city where people were doing well financially. Our hotel was swanky and posh with beds so heavenly you didn’t want to leave the room. Panama exceeded my expectations and I had just arrived. Pause.
Do you remember Ananias and Sapphira? Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” Acts 5:1-4 NIV
What you may not realize is that Ananias and his wife Sapphira were actually appearing to do a good thing. In Chapter 4 of Acts (32-35), we learn that believers are selling their possessions to give to the needy. Ananias and Sapphira out of the “goodness” of their heart were selling their land to donate to the poor. It appears that their heart is in the right place; however, when they decided to cheat God and keep some of the money for themselves, they fell dead. They were more interested in “looking like” they were giving than being truthful in their giving.
Resume. Peering from the window of my 30th floor hotel room, I began to notice what was hidden from afar. There were slums and tent cities tucked in the shadows of these magnificently built buildings. In addition, there were buildings that weren’t completely constructed and left abandoned. What happened to the city that from afar looked like it had it all?
As I looked out of my window, I thought about how easy it is to get up caught up in keeping appearances. We can become so concerned with looking like the perfect Christian that we forget to be that Christian. It’s fruitless to spend all of our time showing up on Sunday dressed to the nines and participating in ministry when our heart is not in the right place. Sometimes we can be facing our own “hell” at home and instead of dealing with it truthfully we wear a mask and live a façade. Like Ananias & Sapphira and Panama City, our core tells a different story than our outward appearance. Until we are realistic about our issues, we will not deal with them.
God needs people who are righteous inside. “ … for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:7 KJV Don’t get so consumed with looking the part that you forget to be the part!
Thank You for another day, another year, another opportunity to get it right. Examine my heart and let my intentions be pure. Let the Godliness that I profess to have on the outside be my foundation on the inside. Don’t let the façade that I’ve created keep me from seeking help when I truly need it. I can keep my issues dressed well and in plenty of makeup but Lord I need you get beyond all of that. Help me to be who You need me to be! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Happy New Year! Ladies, I EMPOWER you to “keep it real.” Commit this year as your year of authenticity. Only when we undress our issues, examine our flaws and be real with ourselves can we let go of the pretense. Commit to doing things with sincerity in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and watch God work in your life.
Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is a small business owner as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.