"Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened." - Acts of The Apostles 5:3-5
Taking a look at this verse, often the first thing that comes to our mind when we try to reason out why Ananias dies in that manner was because he lied to the Holy Spirit. And indeed, it was true. However, was his sin so terrible that he deserved instant death?
What was his lie? Peter emphasized that first of all, Ananias had very little reason to lie. He told Ananias that no one expected of him to give everything. He owned that very land, and giving of profits from the land that was sold was solely voluntary. There was no set standard, nor any expectation of giving.
However, I could imagine a little of what might have taken place... My guess would be that Ananias had sort of imposed that standard upon himself, in the sense that he didn't want others to think that he was a cheapskate, nor any 'less' of a believer because he didn't give his all. He wanted to portray himself as an all out Christian who would give everything for the sake of the gospel. Eventually, his act of giving, which was supposed to be a result of conviction, took its motivation from pride. And this pride cost his life, and the life of his wife.
I wonder how many of us realize that week after week when we attend church, we commit the very same sin that Ananias committed. The songs that we sing, the prayers that we pray, the commitments that we make and the offerings that we give. Worship songs today seems to move closer and closer to the trend of intimacy with God. From songs such as "This is my desire" to "Jesus Lover of my soul" and so on, we sing this songs, and yet, how often are we sincerely moved in our hearts? We respond to altar calls and pulpit invitations to recommitments and repentance, but never seem to carry those proclamation out of church with us. It is amazing that we can still find ourselves alive. Our attitude should have brought forth the wrath of God because indeed, we are not sinning to men, but to the Holy Spirit.
But I believe that God is merciful, and He desires that none perish, but all come to repentance. Indeed, this is the year of God's favor, and He in His grace and mercy are allowing us to learn. However, time and tide waits for no men, and soon enough, His judgement will return.
My conviction? Don't sing if I don't mean it. I pray that I will not succumb to other's view of my walk with God. It's better to be cold than luke warm. More than that, I'm asking God to show me my heart. I'm asking Him to teach me about sincerity, towards Him as well as others.
Am I a faker? I guess to some extend, I am. But I thank God that He is showing mercy to me by not allowing me to fall down dead. And better than that, He's teaching me how to repent and move towards Him.
"Lord Jesus, thank You."