The Bible makes it clear that Christians should find their purpose and identity in Jesus. Believers are called to allow God to guide their paths. A true and authentic faith means learning how to hand one’s life over to the Lord and allowing Him to work through each and every person. Unfortunately, many of us hold back from truly allowing God to work in our lives.
Fortunately, the Bible is filled with instructive material, and there are many helpful resources available at PureFlix.com as well to help you in your spiritual walk. Shows, series and films like “Be Bold for Truth,” “New Season With Samuel Rodriguez” and “Revive Us 2” with Kirk Cameron can help us reach our full potential with God.
One of the most fascinating biblical stories about purpose and identity comes from Acts 5:1-11. Readers are introduced to a husband a wife named Ananias and Sapphira. The Bible notes that believers were, at that time in the early church, sharing everything they owned and giving money to those in need.
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Scripture tells us that Christians were one in heart and mind and that no one claimed their possessions as their own. After a man named Barnabas sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles, Ananias and Sapphira come into the picture.
The Bible tells us the following in Acts 5:1-11 (read the NIV Bible translation from Biblica here):
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? 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.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.
And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
This is a complex story that sparks a great deal of theological discussion, but one of the most interesting pieces of the puzzle is why the couple chose to hold back the money. As Peter said, they could have simply kept the money and been honest about it all.
It appears Ananias and Sapphira were deeply intrigued by Christians’ decision to selflessly give. They, to some degree, seemed interested in also giving and taking part — but for some reason they held back and chose to lie about it.
It’s easy to read the story and condemn Ananias and Sapphira, but what is a bit more difficult is for each of us to introspectively ask: What am I holding back from God? Or, what am I holding onto that I shouldn’t be clinging to so fervently?
At the end of the day, many of us have something outside of the spiritual realm that controls. And if we don’t keep it in check — whether it’s a hobby, goal, obsession with our past or some other stumbling block — we’re in danger of being lukewarm or disconnected.
But more importantly, we could be entirely missing our purpose when we’re not regularly asking God where we’re supposed to be, what we’re supposed to be doing and how we’re supposed to be behaving. Something made Ananias and Sapphira want to at least appear to be good Christians, but then something clearly held them back from living that out.
Are we different from them, or similar? Here are some important lessons their story should teach every one of us:
When We Ignore Our Purpose We’re Ignoring God’s Will
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” And Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) adds, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
When we neglect our purpose and don’t seek God’s guidance we set ourselves up for potential failure. The irony is that we might have a lot of material success, but we could still be missing the boat on how we’re supposed to be used by God.
When We Ignore Our Purpose We’re Missing, Neglecting or Abusing Our Gifts:
We are each given individual gifts and talents. Jesus said that the most important commandments are to love God and love others, but when we neglect our purpose, chances are we are misusing or even ignoring our gifts.
Consider all the talented people in Hollywood who use their gifts, but perhaps miss the boat on how their gifts should be utilized. Rather than spreading encouragement and positive messages, some choose to create edgy and problematic content.
Imagine, though, what they could be doing for Christ? Don’t stop there, though. Consider, too, what you could be doing for God if you used your own gifts to their biggest potential.
When We Ignore Our Purpose We Can Miss or Mistake Truth
Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
It’s easy to be led astray when our purpose is built on quicksand, as our faith and identity should never be put in temporal things. We can easily miss or mistake truth when we’re motivated by things outside of the realm of God.
When We Ignore Our Purpose Our Identity Can Suffer
Philippians 2:3 (NIV) tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
When we miss our purpose and don’t seek God, we often get trapped in comparisons and jealousy. If our purpose isn’t rooted in God, our identity is easily shaken. Unfortunately, if we’re not careful, we can soon find ourselves seeking approval from people and culture over God.
The Important Lesson to Take Away
Ananias and Sapphira were clearly missing the boat on their purpose. They were lukewarm, having had their feet dipped in both worlds. With that in mind, the questions we must ask ourselves: Are we any better? What are we holding back from God?
Take a moment to pray and ponder how you can let God work in your life each and every day. And find daily, inspiring content that will help you on your spiritual walk at Pure Flix Insider.