Monday, March 21 – Acts 5:1-6
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the proceeds for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias collapsed and died; and great fear came over all who heard about it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.
You have probably heard the phrase “stretching the truth.” This phrase is used to help someone feel better about telling a “little” lie. The tiniest grain of truth helps us justify making up a story about the rest. Sometimes this happens when we are unsure how another will react, sometimes it is hiding a sin. For Ananias it was a lie that would have gained him credit and recognition if he wasn’t found out. Ananias wanted his name listed next to Barnabas for his generosity, but he didn’t like what it cost, so he decided to stretch the truth and lie not only to the people around him but also to God. When we use terms like “stretch the truth” or “white lie” we forget the great offense our sin has on God. Ananias was so greedy for the praise and recognition from others in the church that he found the shortcut to get what he wanted. God knows all things and judges the hearts of all people, so He knew Ananias was filled with deceit.
Sometimes, when we come into the church, we try to put our best face on. We act more spiritual or generous than we are every day. We look at the fruit in someone else’s life, and we may puff ourselves up about how close we are to God when we only actually want recognition for the moment instead of praising God for His work in our brother or sister’s life. God is not interested in the big donation or our status at church alone, He wants your heart, your sincerity, your authenticity. If you have a little bit to give to Him, give it joyfully! If you have a moment to share a testimony with someone else, share it gladly. But know at the end of the day, it is not the sum of your lavish gifts or spiritual sayings that are what God is after. He is after your heart, whether you have little or an abundance.
- When have you been tempted to “stretch the truth”? Why is this a big deal to God?
- What would it look like if you came to God authentically? Why is that hard to do sometimes
- Pray and ask God to show you areas in your life where you put on a front instead of following Him authentically. Repent and ask for forgiveness.