If someone asked you what your view of God is, how would you respond? When you think of God, what comes to your mind? What if your view of God was influential to your life actions? Or, what if your life actions represented your view of God?
To test this concept, let’s observe one couple’s view of God through their life actions. But first, it could be helpful to learn about the community in which this couple lived.
This couple were members of a newly established faith community when Jesus’s disciples guided groups after Jesus’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. In the book of Acts, you can read about how belief/faith in Jesus Christ spread from Jerusalem to Rome and from the Jewish people to non-Jewish people, called Gentiles, by the power of the Holy Spirit, working specifically through the ministry of the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul. The apostles and new followers/believers in Jesus were living and sharing their faith with boldness, which led to growing numbers of people declaring their faith in Jesus Christ. See Acts 2:41 (three thousand added); Acts 2:47 (daily people added); and Acts 4:4 (five thousand added). This newly formed community is described as being “one in heart and mind” (Acts 4:32), and they lived sacrificially for one another (reference Acts 4:32-35). The faith community was growing so rapidly that the apostles could not properly disciple everyone and minister to everyone’s needs; therefore, other believers in Jesus than the apostles, who focused on the teaching of God’s Word, were enlisted to facilitate acts of service to meet the practical needs of the new believers in the faith community (Acts 6:1-7).
In Acts 5:1-4, this couple, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, experience and observe other believers in Jesus selling their property and possessions to provide revenue to take care of the practical needs of the faith community. People are bringing resources to the apostle Peter as offerings to God to support the faith community. However, Ananias and Sapphira also conspire to bring an offering to God. This couple is copying the actions of others in the faith community, but they do not fool the apostle Peter or God. The assumption is that God, the Holy Spirit, enables the apostle Peter to know the truth about Ananias’s and Sapphira’s actions. In Acts 5:3-4, Peter accuses Ananias of sinning against God. Peter does not identify the motivation of the sin (e.g., greed, lying, envy, faithlessness, pride, covetousness). However, God knew Ananias’ sin and his motivation. God also knew that Ananias coerced his wife, Sapphira, to sin with him. Ananias deliberately deceived others through his actions.
In Acts 5:5-11, Ananias falls down and dies after his conversation with Peter. Later, Sapphira comes to Peter and communicates the same lies regarding her and her husband’s actions, and she dies, too. In verse 9, Peter accuses Ananias and Sapphira of “testing” God with their actions. They “tested” God to see if God would respond to their sin, specifically mimicking actions of other believers who were living sacrificially for one another (reference Acts 4:32-35) and being of “one mind and heart” (Acts 4:32).
Ananias and Sapphira’s actions demonstrated their view of God. They schemed, lied, and deceived others in the faith community. Peter accused Ananias of the intense corruption of his heart that would motivate him to construct this deceptive scheme and then make so many consecutive sinful actions to fulfill the scheme. Peter’s view of God let him know that God would respond immediately to Ananias and Sapphire’s sin.
Whether Ananias and Sapphira realized it or not, their view of God influenced the way they observed other’s actions and how they chose to act themselves. But the same is true with you. Your view of God affects the way you observe, interpret, and approach life. Your view of God influences how you:
- interpret both positive and negative life circumstances and life events.
- make daily decisions and significant life choices.
- pray and worship (and if you pray and worship).
- perceive yourself and others.
- live and invest your time, talents, and resources.
How do you answer the question – what’s your view of God? – influences your life, one action at a time. If your view of God is truly that influential to your life actions, you may want to consider if your view of God corresponds with what God Himself has said about Himself in the Bible.