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Don't Play Games With God

In Acts 4:32-5:11, we learn a little about life as an early Christian. It was a time when unity of heart and mind came together and culminated in the sharing of possessions and resources. Yet even then, these passages show two very different kinds of people. Both claimed to be "Christian", yet one was a positive model, and the other a very negative model. On the surface, they seem the same, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The positive model was named Barnabas. A man with a sincere faith, who was generous and truthful. The Bible says that he sold some land, and donated the entire amount to the Church. No one forced him to do so, it was in his heart to give. Barnabas may have been the inspiration behind St. Paul's instruction in 2 Corinthians 9:7, "You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. 'For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.' " (NLT)

Ananias and Saphira however, turn out to be negative models. They, like Barnabas, also sold some land. However, they decided to keep some of the money, but lie to the Apostles about it. When they brought the money to St. Peter, he flat out asked them if they were giving the entire amount of the property. They both lied and said yes. Perhaps they were not aware of Proverbs 19:9, "A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed." (NLT) The point is clear, they were playing games with God. St. Peter points out that Satan had filled their hearts with lies. As a result of their deception both instantly died.

The Bible tells us the result of this encounter. The Church was filled with respect for the Holiness of God. Jesus tells us, "For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24 NLT) Satan fills our hearts with lies, but the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with truth. None of us are perfect, and we know that God forgives. Let us always confess our sins, especially when we have the chance. Let us NOT be as Ananias and Saphira, who were given the chance to confess their sins, but chose to lie instead. "Don't be misled-you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant." (Galatians 6:7 NLT)