READING: Acts 5:1-11
“You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
The story behind the text today is the story of Ananias and Sapphira, the couple who lied about their offering when they sold a piece of land.* Peter confronted Ananias, and in that confrontation is evidence of the spiritual battle all of us face. “How is it that Satan has filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit . . . ?” Peter asked him (Acts 5:3). That question might suggest that Satan was the sole cause behind Ananias’ choice (that is, “the devil made him do it”), but don’t miss the rest of Peter’s questioning: “What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God” (Acts 5:4). Yes, Satan was an instrument in this flagrant sin, but it was Ananias who made the choice to lie. He was the one who suffered the immediate judgment of God for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:5).
In contrast to today’s reading, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” when he spoke to the rulers and elders (Acts 4:8). David spoke and wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:25-26). When the early church prayed, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31). Stephen spoke with such “wisdom the Spirit gave him” that his enemies could not counter him (Acts 6:10).
The contrast could not be more clear. Ananias spoke the words of the enemy, lying to the Holy Spirit in the process. Peter and others spoke the words of God, leaning on the Holy Spirit for direction and wisdom. These options are ours as well: we may choose to speak under the power of the enemy or under the power of the Spirit. Sometimes, in fact, we make both choices within the same conversation.
May God help us to speak only under the inspiration of the Spirit today. Don’t listen to the liar who seeks to destroy you.
- Determine if you have recently spoken more under Satan’s influence than God’s. If so, you may need to ask someone’s forgiveness.
- Be fully truthful today.
PRAYER: “God, convict me and halt me if I even consider speaking less than the truth today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Acts 9-11
*devotion first posted in 2016