Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
(Acts 5:9 NIV)
God puts righteous people around us to provide spiritual influence and prevent us from committing sins. He delights in integrity of righteous people, and desires to witness us building unity with spiritual partners in righteous deeds. Let us learn from the story of Ananias and Sapphira in the books of Acts 5:1-11 (NIV):
“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.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 just to human beings but to God.”When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”
God delights in sincere hearts that desire in communing in Him. In above story, a couple of spouses who was also servants of God, came to the apostles to give their offering from selling their land. Through the story of Ananias and Sapphira, we can see unity and togetherness in planning; however, it was a pity since they were in unity of committing evil deeds.
The sin they had committed was a schemed-sin, where they gave offerings in just a part of the price they received from selling a land, but they admitted it as the whole price they received. The heart’s motivation of these spouses was not sincere and they wanted acknowledgement from people. This was called as fraud, not to the people but to God whom the offering had been given.
God is not impressed with our ministries. Therefore, when we come to His presence, never let ourselves make our ministries as our goal. Focus on spiritual growth, and not ministries. Particularly, let us make spiritual growth as an important goal in our family, starting from the parents. God desires that every husband and wife build spiritual relationship in their family with intention. Spouses must become a united spiritual partner to each other before achieving conformity. Bit and bridle that prevent us from sinning must not only be placed within ourselves, but also within relationships. Moreover, husband and wife must have personal relationships with Christ to sustain each other.
From the story of Ananias and Sapphira, we learn that the power of planning is influential. Whether it gives blessings or curses. Unfortunately, Ananias and Sapphira suffered from curse because they had schemed an evil plan.
There are few simple steps to ignite the power of planning that summons blessings. They are:
1. Praying together.
2. Reading the Word of God.
3. Discussing together.
4. Closing in prayer.
We can apply above simple steps in family, career, ministry and community. Conformity and togetherness will be established. We must intentionally hold each other’s hands with our spiritual partner, invite the Spirit of God to sanctify and ask for His power to be within us in every aspect of life. These things are simple indeed, but will trigger acceleration in our life.
Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa's sermon, 12 January 2020, Sunday Service, GMS Surabaya Barat