But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you[a] sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. (Acts 5: 1-11)
I have been taught many times from this story, but the moral has always been, “Don’t lie to God.” This, however, is only the first bite of a wonderful, yet hard to swallow, meal of scripture.
Jim Elliot brought the whole of the meal to my attention…it was convicting.
“Ananias and Sapphira were not slain for not giving, but for not giving everything they said they had given.”
They were not slain for not giving, but for not giving everything they had said they had given.
The Lord whispered something to me when I read that. A hard and bitter reality.
“You,” He said, “are Ananias and Sapphira.”
I’m ashamed…because it’s true.
“You promised all of you, but you still are holding back from Me. There are things in your life that you have not let go of, not surrendered to me. You are not in ME ALONE. Why are you lying to people……why are you lying to me.
“Eleyana, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of YOUR HEART?”
My answer is not sufficient, as no answer could be to such a question.
Because…..I still love the things of this world.
We were driving home from an event the other night and my dad expressed frustration towards a song on the radio.
“Is that it?” He asked. “Is that our whole life? Just falling down and getting back up again? Where does our victory in Christ come in?”
My mom responded.
“But isn’t that true? Trials are always knocking me down, and because of Christ I can get back up again.”
“But how much of it is trials?” My father asked. “And how much of it is our failure to kill the sin in our life? That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot….do I really hate sin?”
I already knew the answer to that in relation to my own life.
No. I don’t hate sin. I hate other people’s sin, but I allow sin in my own heart and fail to consider it as a poison that needs to be gotten rid of…..immediately.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.” – Romans 6: 12-14
I think we all have a tendency to hold back a piece of our heart from God, a little corner titled “private.” Sometimes that corner can hold unconfessed sins, or our “guilty pleasures”, maybe even our talents that we don’t want to use for God’s glory, and daily things like stress, anxiety, pride, self-pity, perfectionism, anything that leads us away from being fully devoted to God.
If you stop for a moment and count the things in your own life that fit under that category your reaction is probably going to be like mine……..
Wow, there’s a lot.
To be completely truthful, when I saw all that was hidden in the private corner of my heart I questioned my love for the Lord.
Do I really love Him? Or am I Ananias in this area too?
John 21: 15-19
Jesus, after His resurrection, came to the disciples and was eating breakfast with them. Once the meal was finished Jesus turned to Peter and asked him the question I have been pondering in my heart.
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
More than these? Perhaps Jesus was asking Peter whether he loved Him more than the distractions in his life.
“Peter said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you’.”
Jesus asked Peter two more times whether he truly loved Him.
Imagine for a moment the pain Peter was feeling in his heart.
Perhaps he was thinking of the roster who had crowed after the three times he had denied Jesus…his very best friend. And now, three times, Jesus had to ask him “do you love me.”
“Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you’.” (v. 17)
And Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep….” He then said to Peter words he has spoken to each of us, “Follow me.”
Follow me with ALL of you.
Follow me because you love me.
Because, ALL of you loves me.
Because you are truly mine.
I paid a price for you. You are not your own. You are a debtor, a bond servant of MY name. I bought you out of your slavery to sin, do not fall back into fear. For I have adopted you as MY son. I am your ABBA FATHER, and I am jealous for you. I will not give you to another. I will not allow you to praise another. YOU. ARE. MINE……so act like it.
In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith