“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” — Acts 5:3
The church is growing at exponential rates despite intense opposition. God is blessing. The Word of God is changing lives. Many are believing on Jesus and there is a spirit of unity, generosity, and power. One man even sold an entire piece of land and brought the proceeds to the apostles (Acts 4:32-37)!
In the context of great blessing, Satan attacks the church in a very deceptive way. He doesn’t use immorality or persecution; he simply uses insincere sacrifice. He fills the heart of a man and his wife to sell a possession and then to pretend they have brought the entire price. Instead, they have kept back part.
On the surface, their sin does not seem that serious – certainly not something worthy of the immediate death that follows. But, when considered further, we realise that this is a most insidious sin not too dissimilar to the sin of Achan in the book of Joshua.
Achan coveted some things he should not have had, hid them, and lied about taking them. His sin was committed in the early days of the nation entering Canaan, just as Ananias’ sin is in the early days of the forming of the church.
What we learn is that small sins have huge consequences. That’s why Satan tried to sow this seed of selfishness, dishonesty, and deceit in the church. And that’s why God deals with it so severely.
As we consider how people fall into gross sin, how churches compromise, and how nations are destroyed, it does not begin with major sins but minor compromises, small lies, and little areas in which we do not surrender to the Holy Spirit. Once we allow Satan to influence us to sin in small ways, it opens the door to larger things.
So what small sins are we tolerating? What little areas of dishonesty are we putting up with? What cracks in our character are we allow Satan to slip through? May we yield to the Spirit so that we are not influenced by Satan.