“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 to men but to God.’” (Acts 5:3–4, NIV84)
There was a long time in my Christian life that I just didn’t like this event. I can’t believe that God would allow people to die just because they didn’t give all the proceeds from their house to the church. Even as a pastor I would skip over this section if it ever came up as a possible sermon text. But over the years the Lord has made me more discerning. I think I understand the text more clearly. (I hope those of you who get frustrated with a lack of understanding of the Bible can appreciate the fact that it is OK if it takes time.)
Ananias and his wife did not die because they didn’t give all the proceeds from selling their house to the church. They died because they lied to God when they said that they would give all the proceeds from the sale to the church and later decided to hold some of the money back. They lied! They did not live up to the commitment and promise they made to God. They lacked spiritual integrity. As I type this I find this section of Scripture convicting. I am very thankful that God hasn’t killed me for the many moments in my life when I have lacked spiritual integrity. I have lied to God more times than I care to admit. Ananias and his wife probably died as a warning to the newly formed Christian Church that they were still dealing with a holy God who expected reverence and obedience. The point is that God takes these things very seriously. He expects honesty and truthfulness in our spiritual endeavors. So I end this devotion with a question: Do we have the spiritual integrity we ought to have?
If so, praise God and keep your sights focused on the truth. If not, join me in repentance and renewal. Let’s recommit ourselves to truth and honesty.