Keeping Back Part: God Wants Full Custody and Nothing Less
Acts 5:1-2 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles feet.
There’s a phrase I read some time ago that said, ‘God doesn’t want weekend visits–He wants full custody.’ The statement obviously speaks of our physical presence in God’s house–the fact that our Christianity should not be reduced into a two hour visit on Sundays. Christianity is actually a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week lifestyle. God wants our whole being; not just a certain part. He desires full custody and nothing less. There is no doubt that this was a willful, intentional and dishonest act. But the real crime of it was in not giving what was expected. They were to take the entire amount and lay it at the apostles’ feet. All was required; only a certain part was given.
When you get right down to it, what type of person would withhold parts of their life from the Lord? The words to a popular song say, My life (I give you) My love (I give you) My all. However, is this really the case? More than we would like to admit, we are at times guilty of keeping back part of our lives for ourselves. But, as stated, who would do such a thing? 1. A stubborn person This is true because the act of keeping back part is an act of the will; it shows a determined intention to do as you want, regardless of the consequences or effects. 2. A selfish person The act of ‘keeping back part’ is concerned mainly about personal profit or pleasure. Selfishness is about keeping what you believe is yours, yours. It’s no longer, ‘Thy will be done’, it’s ‘my will be done.’ 3. A conniving person Dishonesty reigns in the life of a conniving person. Hiding is easier than coming clean, as they see it. Keeping back part is a deliberate, calculated and pre-conceived action; it can’t be done by mistake because the Spirit of God will let you know if you are doing it. 4. A daring person Keeping back part is also a dangerous action. It sabotages your spiritual well-being, diminishes your peace and will block your blessings. Would you be willing to forfeit these things just to have your own way?
Besides the obvious things, like commitment and devotion, what does God desire from His children? Let’s make no mistake about it; what God desires—He deserves.
God desires undivided worship Mat.15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. These are the words of Jesus quoting the prophet Isaiah. God does not deserve lip service; He deserves true heartfelt worship. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (Jn.4:24)
God desires unlimited and unshackled praise Psa.34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. This is something that is not easy. Does it mean that I am to shout, ‘Hallelujah, praise the Lord!’, each time something bad, contrary or unexpected happens? Well, yes and no. Before His praise can be in my mouth continually, I must first learn and promote an attitude of praise in my heart. To be sure, opportunities will arise for me to flex my ‘praise muscles’ and the more I do so, His praise will naturally and continually be in my mouth. We need to praise Him more and more. Psa.142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name… Some people don’t praise God because they won’t; others don’t praise God because they can’t. Many are shut up in a prison built brick by brick by the enemy and in some cases by themselves. Whatever the case might be, God desires praise in a never ending, unchained flow.
God desires uncompromised service 1Cor.16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) It is to be noted that this word ‘addicted’ here simply means ‘devoted’. They were totally committed to serving the saints. This same commitment and devotion to one another should be on display even more so towards God. He above all, deserves our utmost service.
God desires unrivaled love Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. This often quoted verse may arguably be at the root of all we do for Christ. Our service, our praise and our worship will flow from our love for our Saviour. Our love should flow from a heart of absolute gratefulness, based on what He has done for us. What has He done for us? Col.1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. What else can we ask for? If He doesn’t do another thing for me, He has done enough. We love Him, because He first loved us (1Jn.4:19). Our love for Him should have no rivals. No one can love us like He can. No one can love us as much as He can. No one can do for us what He can.
As we live and allow the Lord to order our steps, let’s be mindful to give God all He desires and deserves—simply because He is worthy.
All to Jesus I surrender All to Him I freely give I will ever love and trust Him In His presence daily live I surrender all I surrender all All to Thee, my blessed Saviour I surrender all.
That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.