Reading through the Bible together
The beginning of this chapter touches on some very important issues of the heart that I believe we all face. The believers had been selling their land and bringing the money to Peter and John to distribute to those in need. And as it says, "There was none among them that lacked"(Acts 4:34). However, even during this time of great liberality in the church, some selfishly held back.
Here we find the story of Ananias and Sapphira who also, pretending to be unselfish, sold their land. However rather than bringing all the money from the sale (as was expected), they only brought part of it. Maybe they reasoned in their hearts, “It's alright if we don't tell Peter and John everything, God knows we love Him. And we will use the portion we kept for a good cause.” Unfortunately, I've heard people justify such "lies" to others. "God knows my heart! He knows that I love Him. I'm just telling them what I chose to say to get by, but it's alright, because God loves me!"
It's interesting to note that Peter's response to their partial gift was not, "Why did you lie to us?" But rather, "Why have you lied to the Holy Ghost? You have not lied to men, but to God?" Some might ask, how do you lie to God, for doesn't God know everything anyway? However, if we aren’t being honest in our dealings with others, and while it may seem a small thing to us, it is actually God we are dishonoring the most, because God looks at our motives.
In the past I use to always worry a lot about what others thought of me (and I still do at times!). But I’ve learned it’s more important to be concerned about what God thinks of me. When people are ready to applaud what I’m doing, will I do it for the applause, or do what is right because I want to honor God? This is what I long for. This is what I pray for. Not just to appear good before others, but to truly do what is right from a pure heart before God. Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart" (I Sam 16:7). What is your heart condition today?
Melody (Melodious Echo) Mason
Author, ARME Prayer Ministries Leader