1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,
2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.
Acts 5:1–5 ESV Read More

It’s soooo tempting to want the spiritual growth of other people. Especially when it’s easy to see or brings notoriety.

But just because Bret has the gift of “Waving my arms around and yelling a lot,” doesn’t mean that I’ll get the same spiritual growth in my life by doing the same thing.

Ananias and his wife saw how awesome it was for Barnabas to sell his land and give it to the apostles, so they wanted to do the same thing. The only problem was, they didn’t really want it to cost them as much as it cost Barnabas.

I’m not saying that to receive any kind of spiritual growth that suffering is involved. Jesus suffered completely and totally for all who call on His name.

But we shouldn’t lie about the cost.

We know from all over the scriptures that wisdom comes from pain and submission to God. Ananias made the mistake about lying about what he had from God and what he wanted to give to God. It’s not that God or Peter or the church wanted all of his money. They didn’t need any money with other people like Barnabas around.

They needed his honesty. God doesn’t value what we value. He already has everything He could ever want!

God would rather have an honest penny than a winning tax-free Powerball ticket with a lie on top!

But He doesn’t want your penny. He wants your friendship.

Lying breaks a friendship. Ananias had a big fat warning of a chance to repent right there in front of Peter and reconcile the relationship that he broke. But then, in Old-Testament wrath kind of style, he didn’t, and then fell over dead.

You can spend a long time trying to get the why out of this, and you’ll probably never find it. Stick with what is clear in the passage and grow from it.

The people that were there didn’t have a clear why, but they had fear. Fear of how real and present the Holy Spirit was and how important it was that they were sincere and open with each other. Being honest was more important than feeding the poor or paying the rent.

And it was so important that God made it a matter of life or death.

There is no shortcut to spiritual growth or spiritual power, and there doesn’t need to be. In Jesus, we have all we need already.

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