“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 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. 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?’” – Acts 5:1-3
We have to be honest with you about today’s devotion: this isn’t a cheery, “feel-good” type of devotional. BUT – it is an important one to read and understand.
Acts 5:1-3 tells the story about a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, who were part of the early church in Jerusalem. Acts 4:32 says that all of the believers at that time were united in their hearts and minds when it came to their possessions and sacrificing financially for the church.
But Ananias and Sapphira decided they would hold back from God by keeping a portion of their earnings. Worse yet, they pretended that what they had given to God and the church was their “best.” Their deception was revealed by the Holy Spirit to Peter, who then confronted Ananias and Sapphira about their sin. (The entire story is found in Acts 5:1-11 and we’d highly recommend reading it for yourself.)
In this passage, Peter brought 2 very clear charges against Ananias:
First – Peter said Ananias allowed his heart to be filled by Satan. Of course, no follower of Jesus should ever desire or allow Satan to have control over their heart and decision-making, but that’s exactly what happened when Ananias chose to withhold from God.
Second – By pretending to give their best to God, Ananias and Sapphira were making a conscious decision to lie to the Holy Spirit. They might’ve thought they were lying to the church and their fellow believers, but in actuality they were lying to God and they suffered deeply because of it.
This story serves as a stern warning to all Christians about their motives and their actions when it comes to giving. The “takeaway” from this passage for you today is simple, but it’s not easy:
You must always be both generous and sincere about your generosity.
When you live without either of those two things – generosity or sincerity – you are giving Satan the opportunity to take a stronghold into your heart and corrupt your life.
- Take a few moments to read all of Acts 5:1-11. What stands out to you from this passage?
- Does my generosity to God and the church reflect the lessons I’ve learned throughout these devotionals?
- What steps do I need to take today to become more generous in my giving?