“How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…? Acts 5:3
In sharp contrast to the believers in Acts 4:32 who gave because they were “one in heart”, Ananias and Sapphira, gave with hearts filled by Satan. The former was a united heart, seeking the good of all believers and the glory of Jesus; the later was a divided heart, seeking the good of the individual and the glory of self. One is based on humility and the other on pride, which produces lies. Pride itself is even a lie because it’s based on the false thinking that we earned or deserve something. One commentary stated, “Pride opens the door to every other sin, for once we are more concerned with our reputation than our character, there is no end to the things we will do just to make ourselves “look good” before others.” This passage should cause us to seriously consider the heart with which we give anything to the church whether time, talent, or resources.
Ananias and Sapphira wanted people to think they gave all of the money from the sale of their property to the church when they had actually conspired to hold back some of the money for themselves. They were not obligated to give any of it. Peter said the land belonged to them, as did the sale price, so there was no need to lie about it. He didn’t condemn them for holding some of the money back, but for lying so they would look more generous in the eyes of others. We may think we would never do such a thing, but there are many other ways pride and dishonesty surface. Do we give or serve to appear generous, but do it with grumbling hearts? How often do we serve out of a need to feel important? Do we fail to delegate because we think no one can do the job as well as us? And the list could go on.
Pride and dishonesty make a disastrous combination. God hates them both (Proverbs 6:17), and He opposes the proud (James 4:6). The Greek word for “oppose” means that God is setting all He is in battle against the proud. If God is against us, who can be for us? In this condition, what hope is there for our witness for Jesus or any work of eternal value? But who hasn’t been tempted by pride? The mere thought that one is pride-free is evidence of the existence of pride because as theologian Stuart Scott said, the question is not do we have pride, but where is it? How easily and quickly it works its way in to that which is begun even with godly intentions. Our only hope is to put on the humility of Jesus. So who is filling our hearts? Where might our ineffectiveness for Christ be the result of God’s power battling against our pride? Where are pride and dishonesty dividing His church? The next time pride creeps in, picture Satan speaking, and call on God to intervene.
Prayer: Lord, Your Word tells us you hate pride and dishonesty and how serious an offense they are to you. Have mercy on us Father. You know how strong and frequent this temptation is. May your Holy Spirit convict us the minute a lie or prideful thought begins in our heart. Help us to put on the humility of Jesus. We want to work in the flow of your incredible power not have it work against us. We want to be filled with the heart of Jesus not the heart of Satan. In the Name of Jesus, the source of truth and humility and the purifier of our hearts. Amen!