I am involved in a very in-depth, inductive bible study that I attend weekly.Right now we are studying the book of Acts.This last week we were discussing the beginning of chapter 5.
Let me fill you in on what’s happing in case you’re unfamiliar with this passage.
Jesus has just ascended into heaven and the apostles have received the Holy Spirit.They are spreading the Good News to all and many are accepting God’s grace, forgiveness and Holy Spirit as well.Many have sold everything and have given it to the apostles and those in need. At the end of chapter 4, Barnabas has sold all of his property and given the profits to the apostles.Then, in chapter 5, we learn about a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, who get into some very deep trouble.
Now, this passage is just packed with so many little gold nuggets. Like why they might have lied and why there’s only a snippet about Barnabas right beforehand.
But I want to focus on the couple, Ananias and Sapphira.
(And let me preface this now with, I am not a Bible scholar and I didn’t go to seminary.This is my opinion from what I am learning through this study and how it fits with what I know from other Bible passages.And most of this is paraphrasing, so confer with your bible for the details.)
So, this passage goes on to say that Ananias and Sapphira sell their property.They then conspire to tell the apostles that they are giving all of their profits, but they are really only giving a portion, which is kind of silly since it wasn’t even required that they do this.
When they are questioned if they are giving all or keeping a portion, they lie and say it is everything they had. But this didn’t happen at the same time.Ananias goes to the apostles first, lies, and dies because he’s really lying to the Holy Spirit and not man.Then three hours later, his wife Sapphira comes to the apostles and is questioned, she lies, and dies as well. So this means they talked about this beforehand and agreed.
As I said before, this passage is full of so many great things, most I probably wouldn’t have even seen had I not been in this study, but what stands out to me most is the connection between this husband and wife to be able to conspire so deeply with each other to lie – even to death.
Now I know this really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal because husbands and wives should be on the same page, and our sin nature makes it much easier to be deceitful than to be honest. And if it’s in our sin nature to lie, then why wouldn’t they agree on that? Why would that be so out of the ordinary?
Here’s where my wheels started to turn…
In those times, marriages didn’t just happen because of a chance meeting and falling deeply in love at first sight kind of thing.Okay, that doesn’t always happen now days either, but hear me out.Marriages back then didn’t even happen because two people fell in love over time.Marriages happened based on what the groom could give to the bride’s family in exchange for her.Marriages happened because of which family you belonged to.Love really didn’t have anything to do with it.And yet, they still connected and agreed.
And I think, they also learned to love one another over time.I mean really learned to love one another. They were forced to marry someone and had to all of a sudden create a life with that person.They made the decision to love that person.
Love is an action. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t just feel love for someone.You can feel lust, but not love, but maybe that’s how many relationships start out at first.You can’t fall in and out of love with someone.You choose to love them.You make the decision to act in a way that shows that person you are loving them.
So, if they could do this with a complete stranger, then why do we struggle loving someone that we fell in love with and chose to love enough to marry them?Why do we choose to stop loving, when it was someone we chose? We weren’t forced to marry them, to have a life with them.Why can’t we agree to be on the same page and just show love to each other?
Very few people know that recently my husband and I have been in this boat, sitting on opposite sides, one or both of us at times ready to jump ship.
We chose to stop loving each other.
And things happened.Things were done.Things were said.
Now, I’m not saying we are even anywhere near the clear on this one, but it is a daily task to choose love.To daily say, “I am going to show you love today.”
And it’s only by God’s grace and the leading of some very special friends that we didn’t jump.And I think it’s totally God revealing this to me now than at any other time in my life.
But if two complete strangers can choose to love, then why can’t we choose to love someone we chose?
I know so many couples going through marital trials right now where one or both are ready to jump ship, too.And my prayer is that they can see the beauty in what marriage can be if they just choose to love the one they chose.
(Now Disclaimer: In no way am I saying that if there is abuse going on, they should stay.)
But for those who think they’ve just “fallen out of love”, I pray you will choose love.Choose to get outside help if need be, and choose to show love.Even if it’s one-sided for a time.Loving someone isn’t expecting love in return.
The second greatest command is to love one another.Love is a powerful tool.It literally changes not just lives, but the world and more importantly, hearts.So, let’s take that as seriously as it sounds, and love!