Lessons from Ananias and Saphira

Have you read the story in the Bible about the couple that was struck down dead for lying to the Holy Spirit?

I want to write this post as a follow up to my previous post, All In. There is a story in the Bible of a husband and wife who claimed to be “all in,” but they were holding things back for themselves.

They sold a plot of land and gave the money to the church. They claimed to give all, but they did not. No one required this of them. They were making a show of their good works and lying about the amount they had given.

They lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck dead on the spot. You can read about this in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 5.

I think about this after considering my last post because I should have emphasized a desire to be “all in” for Jesus with faith in Him to make this possible in His perfect timing according to the will and grace of the Father. It is good for us to want to give our all for Jesus, but it is also good to remember that there is most likely going to be some area that is lacking for most of our lives.

Most of us cannot be all in like the apostles were or like John the Baptist was. Especially if we have a family that we are responsible for. I can’t be all in in the sense that I’d like to be. I have to work, but I can do my upmost to do all things “as unto the Lord” and for His glory. I can seek Him to remove my selfish nature from me overtime so that I can make sacrifices now for future gain in His Kingdom.

It is also worth stating that being “all in” for Jesus is going to mean being patient with others, loving others, and doing good to all—even our enemies. We might get fed up with it all and the Lord knows our frame. However, we have to keep His words and do them, no matter how painful or difficult. We can learn to rejoice in our suffering, knowing that our reward is in Heaven. Not grumble or feel sorry for ourselves. This is a high calling, but Jesus will help us.

All that being said, what else might we learn from the story of Ananias and Saphira?

As Christians, we call Jesus our Lord and Savior, right? That means something. As with all things, He knows our frame and He is patient with us. Thank God for that.

However, claiming Jesus as our Lord means something. We should strive and seek Him daily so that He is in-fact made Lord of our life. We need to get to know Him, how He would have us live our lives, and what He wants us to do with our life that was bought with His blood.

Claiming Jesus as our Savior means something. Do we look to Him to keep us or do we put our trust in man or in this world? This can be a hard thing for many of us. Not all of us have strong faith, but if we seek the Lord in this, we can trust in Him to make our faith stronger.

Growing in these might mean going through trying circumstances so that we can learn to trust in Jesus and live more fully for Him, but if that is the case, we can look back afterwards with thanks knowing that “tribulation works patience” and the trying of our faith “as by fire” is no strange thing.

Another lesson to learn from Ananias and Saphira is that the Lord knows our hearts and He does not approve of people who do things to be seen as something great in the eyes of others, especially when they are lying.

There are a lot of people in the faith who make a great show of their faith or of how great a Christian they are, but they are lying. Many do not even have faith. They are just playing along because this serves them in some way. “Whose god is their belly” as I believe Paul stated.

If we have sincere faith in Jesus, we can trust in Him to work out our character flaws, even if we are prone to doing things to be seen. However, we should not take anything lightly. We should fear these examples but also have faith in the Lord for His mercy and turn to Him so that we can be forgiven and made more complete in that which is pleasing to God.

All of this makes me think of another scripture that states, “the curse of the Lord is upon the house of the thief and those that swear falsely by my name.” I am paraphrasing, but the wording is not far off.

We do not want to claim Jesus falsely, as stated above. We also do not want to do things in His name falsely or claim some authority from God that we do not have.

We also do not want to steal what belongs to Him. This can mean many things. We do not want to rob Him of His glory by doing things to be seen, like Ananias and Saphira. There is a case of another man in Acts who was struck dead for not giving glory to God (Acts 12).

We should be mindful of the fact that any good thing we have come from the grace of God. It is fitting to praise the Lord for what He has done in your life. Some people might not like that and there are times when we should not be so quick to talk about those things. If someone is feeling down because they do not think the Lord is working in their lives as they think He should, it might not be so good an idea to rub your grace of God in their face.

However, in all things we should strive to honor God and know that He is the One who gives all things. Good and bad. All things are for His glory, including things that we might fear. Fear is also a form of worship and giving glory. “All things are by Him and for Him.”

We also should not rob God by gathering followers of ourselves and not Jesus. Many want to make disciples of themselves so that they can be something great. We are not Jesus and we should not covet followers. Rather, we should do our best to push Jesus out there and make Him big so that people will follow Him. As John the Baptist stated, “He must increase and I must decrease.”

We do not want to rob people of their faith through bad teaching or living in a way that brings shame to the Lord. We do not want to rob Jesus of our service because we forget that we were paid for with a price and we belong to Him now.

There are many ways in which we can consider the idea of stealing and swearing falsely by the Name of Jesus. There are many things we can consider from the story of Ananias and Saphira.

It is good to be mindful and sometimes we are not as mindful as we would like to be. However, if we serve the Lord then His Spirit will remind us of all things and provide us with opportunity to repent as needed so that we can learn and do better by the grace of God.

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