The breaking in of God is spoken of a lot in the circles I run in (pun intended...). It refers to those times of supernatural visitation - a tangible sense of the presence of God. We believe that in those times, when the metaphysical and spiritual veils are torn, that everything changes and we enter into a glorious otherworld where good is easy and evil is impossible.

I think we're whacked.

To clarify, I am totally contending for the breaking in of God. I believe in it and feel like I've even seen glimpses of it, though never a full face view. I also believe it's coming. I just think we underestimate our potential to do wrong when right is directly in front of us.

Think about the book of Acts. I hear a lot about people wanting Acts Christianity, and I agree with them - the authenticity, the simplicity, the power of God manifesting itself in unimaginable ways - but we forget that even within that incredible time, church members not unlike ourselves struggled with their own character. In the face of a great outpouring of God, you can still manage to be a cheat and a liar.

Acts 5 / the message

But a man named Ananias - his wife, Sapphira, conniving in this with him - sold a piece of land, secretly kept part of the price for himself, and then brought the rest to the apostles and made an offering of it.

Peter said, "Ananias, how did Satan get you to lie to the Holy Spirit and secretly keep back part of the price of the field? Before you sold it, it was all yours, and after you sold it, the money was yours to do with as you wished. So what got into you to pull a trick like this? You didn't lie to men but to God."

Ananias, when he heard those words, fell down dead. That put the fear of God into everyone who heard of it. The younger men went right to work and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him.

Not more than three hours later, his wife, knowing nothing of what had happened, came in. Peter said, "Tell me, were you given this price for your field?"

"Yes," she said, "that price."

Peter responded, "What's going on here that you connived to conspire against the Spirit of the Master? The men who buried your husband are at the door, and you're next."

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than she also fell down, dead. When the young men returned they found her body. They carried her out and buried her beside her husband. By this time the whole church and, in fact, everyone who heard of these things had a healthy respect for God. They knew God was not to be trifled with.


Here's the take-away. We can contend for God's presence, and it does change things...but amazingly enough, it doesn't change our character. Three chapters before this marks the Day of Pentecost. Peter preaches and 3000 people come to know Jesus. Two chapters before, we see the healing of a man who had been crippled from birth. The chapter before, Peter and John preach boldly before the Sanhedrin and some how are released rather than persecuted further. This is not a humdrum church week - this is major interaction with the Holy One on a daily basis. The God factor is high. Unfortunately, the character factor didn't match it, and lack of character trumps revival.

We can ask God to come, but we can develop our character today. At least then when He does come, we don't pull an Ananias.

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