“Oh, the Tangled Webs…” ~ Acts 5:1-11

The Death of Ananias, by Raphael

The Death of Ananias, by Raphael (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? Acts 5:3

Ananias and Sapphira sell their land, their stated purpose being to donate the proceeds to the church. After closing the sale, they decide to give only a portion of the funds to the church and keep the rest for themselves. Nothing wrong here, right? After all, the money is their property to do with as they please, correct? Here’s the rub: Ananias and Sapphira had promised the full sum and represented the amount they donated as such. Succinctly stated, they lied. They lied to Peter, they lied to the church – they lied to God. God, through the Holy Spirit, revealed to Peter what was happening. The result of the couple’s charade was their demise; not because they withheld funds, but because they sought to make it appear as if they were giving all.

Did Ananias and Sapphira hold back because they didn’t fully trust God for their needs? Did they lie about the value of their gift in an attempt to gain favor for themselves? The passage doesn’t reveal their motive; it simply tells us that they lied. This isn’t about how much we give or don’t give; it’s about honesty and integrity. It’s about being honest concerning who we are and what motivates us. It’s about understanding God’s power and sovereignty and honoring Him by being completely true to Him. I am reminded of the old saying “Oh, the tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive…”

Looking in the mirror I realize rather quickly that there have been many times in my own life that I behaved just as Ananias and Sapphira did. I’ve sought to glorify myself. I’ve tried to be something I’m not in hopes that God will honor that. How foolish man’s folly can be!

Through the account of Ananias and Sapphira, God reminds us that we must consistently live for Christ. Examining my own life, I realize that my inconsistencies can impair my witness or, worse yet, I witness for the wrong person. God forgive me. As I lay my sins at the foot of the cross I am thankful for the forgiveness freely offered through Jesus Christ. My sins are in the past, and today is a new day.

Ponder this: What have I done or said to elevate others’ perception of me rather than to glorify God? How many times have I put my own wants and needs ahead of others? Lord, when have I lied to You?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I confess that I often live my life for myself and not for you. Thank you for forgiving me. Help me to turn away from that sin and glorify you today and every day. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

(c) Jeffrey R. Strege, 2018

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