The Sin of Pretending

Why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3).

In 2008, a man was killed in a car crash in New Zealand. The autopsy revealed he’d been driving without wearing a seatbelt, having installed a fake belt which went over one shoulder so that it appeared to any passing motorist or police car that he was actually wearing a real one. He was pretending to comply with the law, but according to the coroner his subterfuge cost him his life.

Ananias and Sapphira wanted to appear generous. They saw the example of Barnabas and the recognition he’d received and wanted to share in the applause of men (Acts 4:36-37). They had two major problems, however. First, they sought the approval of others rather than the approval of God; second, they were trapped in their love of money. They tried to pretend they loved God, but for them, money was a greater priority.

But as Peter identified when he confronted Ananias, money wasn’t even the key issue (Acts 5:3-4). It was the couple’s attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit with a lie. By pretending to be generous but actually loving money and seeking recognition, sadly Ananias sealed his fate (Acts 5:5).

God doesn’t need our money; no more than He needed the money of Ananias. He desires hearts that worship and obey Him out of a response to the amazing love He so generously extends to us. If we pretend to give our all to Him and merely feign obedience, we sin against Him and stand condemned.

Unlike Ananias and Sapphira, however, God has given us time to repent. May we come before Him in brokenness with a true change of heart, for His grace is always available. Just pretending will get us nowhere. May we worship and obey God for who He is—our faithful, loving Lord!

This passage first appeared on

The Sin of Pretending