“Keeping up appearances”

lying to God

There was a man named Ananias. His wife’s name was Sapphira. Ananias sold some land he had,  but he gave only part of the money to the apostles. He secretly kept some of the money for himself. His wife knew this, and she agreed with it. Acts 5:1-2 (ERV)

 

The story of Ananias and Sapphira has always kind of haunted me. I think its because they wanted to look like they were giving their all to God but, were really holding back from him. They were keeping up appearances, because they wanted to look as generous as the other believers that were selling property and taking care of the needs of others. But, they weren’t willing to really give their all to the cause of Christ. They selfishly held back part of their profits while claiming to give it all.

When Peter confronted them he told them they had lied to the Holy Spirit, to God and their fellow believers. What they had done had gone against all that was occurring in Jerusalem as the church was beginning to take root. God had given his all to bringing salvation to mankind, Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ERV) He held nothing back. He gave the fullest and the best he had to bring mankind back into relationship with himself. Ananias and Sapphira claimed to give their all, but were lying about it. This lie cost them their lives and their souls. How sobering a thought is that? They forfeited everything for a profit.

Jesus said this, about that; For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:26 (ESV) Ananias and Sapphira forfeited their souls for money. The story of their treachery, and demise spread. The whole church and all the other people who heard about this were filled with fear. Acts 5:11 (ERV) All those that heard about their choice and punishment, were filled with fear. This healthy fear and respect for God helped others to make better choices. The message they heard was loud and clear, do not lie to God, he knows your heart, your mind and you intentions, to think otherwise is to put oneself in a spiritually dangerous position.

Often I think of my own walk with Jesus in light of what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. I ask myself am I really giving my all to God and his cause or am I holding back a portion? Am I just keeping up appearances? Am I pursuing things that will cost me my soul? Am I lying to the Holy Spirit, God and others? If I am I need to repent and change my ways. Because if I forfeit my soul, there is nothing I can give in return for it. Jesus already paid the price for it, because I couldn’t.

Jesus took up his cross for me, I have no choice but to take up mine and follow him. If I truly give my all, I will be with him where he is. There is no greater gain than that. I will fear God.


© 2015 Leo J. Woodman

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