When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard.—Acts 5:5
Consider this story about a couple from the Bible who forfeited their lives because they pretended to be more spiritual than they really were.
Ananias and Sapphira were highly respected members of the early church and appeared on the surface to be deeply committed disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Doubtless, they had a fairly high degree of dedication, and they easily went along with the idea of selling their possessions and putting the proceeds into the treasury of the church. Their mistake, of course, was in pretending they had given their all when in reality they hadn’t, and the consequences that fell to them because of their pretenses were swift and dramatic.
God deals harshly with dishonesty, but He is compassionate to those who see themselves as they really are, who confess this to Him, and who request His help in becoming the people they know He wants them to be.
I have known people who have stood up in front of a Christian audience and talked about how wonderful it is to live a victorious Christian life, when in reality they were inwardly messed up. And I have known of others getting up before their brothers and sisters, confessing that though they love the Lord, they are experiencing great struggles and difficulties in seeking to live for Him. Who do you think is the closer to God? I will tell you—it is the one who is honest and open. Pretense repels God; openness and honesty draw Him quickly to our side.
Father, help me to be a sincere and transparent person. Save me, I pray, from adopting an air of pretense and masquerading as someone I am not. You delight in openness and honesty. Help me to delight in them too. Amen.
Ac 19; Eph 1; Rv 2:1-5
Why did the word of the Lord spread rapidly in Ephesus?
What words did Christ bring to them some years later?