Read: Acts 4:32-5:42
Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart?” Acts 5:3
So the believers start sharing their stuff with one another and those of means gave generously to the Church. Then a guy named Barnabas sells a field and gave all the proceeds to the Church. So far, so good right?
At that point a couple looking for some recognition, sells a piece of property and gives part of the proceeds to the church, but lie and say they are giving all of the money. So God strikes them dead.
I don’t know about you, but I have always been bothered by this passage. It’s one of those pieces of scripture that just leaves me unsettled. Maybe it’s the apparent unmercifulness of God and the Apostles on a couple who made a mistake. I mean who hasn’t made a mistake? Maybe it’s the severity of the punishment. Either way it seems disproportionate to the crime at hand. But, who am I to judge God.
On reading this this morning though, it occurred to me that there was something bigger going on with Ananias and Sapphira. Peter says to Ananias, “why have you let Satan fill your heart.” The act of lying for recognition was a sin no doubt, and the consequences could be debated. But the root of that sin was Satan himself.
It makes sense. Satan was cast out of Heaven because of pride, because he wanted to be adored, because he wanted to be the center of attention (much like Ananias and Sapphira). The corruption of our hearts by pride and our willingness to lie, cheat and steal to get accolades is rooted in some pretty evil stuff.
The scary part is that this can creep into our hearts while we aren’t looking. We must guard our hearts at all times against pride. We must ruthlessly self evaluate, and make sure our lives are about Jesus not us. And we must choose daily to humble ourselves, and serve Jesus for His sake. Otherwise Satan sneaks in.
We live in a narcissistic culture today. Sociologists will blame it on parenting styles, social media and education, but it’s the place we are all tempted to go in our hearts. We must guard our hearts and humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord each and every day.
Lord – I choose now to humble my life and my heart before You. If there is a place inside of me that is competing with You for glory, will You show me and help me to root it out. Forgive me for pride and help me to walk humbly with You today. In Jesus’ name, amen.