Pursue Holiness

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, help me to search my heart to see if there is anything unpleasing to You. Help me to repent.

 

Read: ACTS 5:1–11

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

3 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? 4 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 just to human beings but to God.”

5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

 

Reflect: THINK OF A TIME WHEN YOU FELT CONVICTED ABOUT A SIN IN YOUR LIFE. HOW DID YOU RESPOND?

One clear conclusion can be reached from today’s story: sin is serious. Two people die due to sin and the church is seized by fear in response. The Christian community, as the dwelling place of God’s Spirit, is called to pursue holiness and to renounce sin.

Ananias’s sin was not that he withheld the money. As Peter makes clear, Ananias had a right to do what he wanted with his money (4). Ananias’s sin was deceit: he lied about how much money he had made from the sale of his property. Although he thought he was telling a half-truth, Ananias was in fact lying to God (4). But God knows our hearts and cannot be lied to.

No doubt Ananias wanted to appear generous in the eyes of his fellow church members. He attempted to build himself up before others through an act that might be seen as self-sacrificial. Ananias therefore lied not only about the cost of his property, but also about who he really was. Lying, deceit and misleading others are all ways of distorting the truth. When we lie, we break trust with others, which in turn damages our relationships. Honesty, in contrast, enables healthy relationships with others and with God.

 

APPLY

Examine your words and actions today to determine whether they are coming from intentions of truth or deception.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

God, as I go through the day, show me how to act and speak honestly in every situation.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider