‘FEAR OF MAN’ ISSUES
‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’ (Revelation 4:8).
Read Acts 5:1–11
Ananias and Sapphira
5 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 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.
3 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? 4 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.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 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.”
10 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. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you think of yourself as a people-pleaser?
It’s moments like these when something of God’s holiness breaks into circumstances in an extraordinary way that remind us of how awesome and righteous God is. We may cut corners and compromise, but there is no shadow of turning in Him (James 1:17). We don’t exactly know what Ananias and Sapphira’s motivation was for lying (3, 9), but it is possible that it was to look as if they were fully devoted and generous in front of other believers. They had forgotten the One who sees and knows the secrets of our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).
When we seek the praise and approval of people before or above God’s, all kinds of hang-ups, difficulty, and sin follow. Proverbs 29:25 reminds us, ‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.’ The antidote to fearing what others think about us is the fear of the Lord – something that swept through the whole church following these sobering events (5, 11). The fear of the Lord is a healthy fear, preserving our life and giving us wisdom (Proverbs 9:10; 10:27), rather than the debilitating fear of people and what they think of us, which entraps and binds us.
Jesus wants you to be free (John 8:36). In what areas of your life do you fear people more than God? Take some time to repent and place your trust in Jesus alone.
God, may I ever seek Your approval. May I never be swayed by the opinions of those around me, but only by my love for You.
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