Day 15: When God Chisels on You! (Acts 8:9-25)
Today’s Passage: Acts 8:9-25
Ever done something for the wrong reason? I have. Sometimes you know your motivation is wrong. Other times, you should know, but you don’t.
Overcoming wrong motivations and our ignorance is part of the process of following Jesus.
I call this process, “chiseling”.
God has to get out his hammer and chisel, and knock off pieces of my pride, ego, etc. He is not using sandpaper to smooth out a few rough spots, no, he is knocking off chunks.
Some of you might be wondering about the “laying on of hands and receiving the Holy Spirit”. Me too, I will write about that in a few days. Today, I wonder about Simon the Magician.
The story gives enough detail that a picture of Simon emerges. He is a celebrity of sorts. He is a person who likes to be the center of attention. His title reveals this desire. Yet, the text notes that he is impressed with the message and power of Jesus. The text says he was baptized.
I don’t think baptism back then was perfunctory. While we can never know Simon’s heart, we know he would have to publicly confess and repent of his sin, put his trust in Jesus, and pledge to follow him as Lord.
In other words, we know Simon has stated he is making a new beginning.
And then he experiences even more of the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit—and his first reaction—is wrong.
His first reaction draws on all the “old-Simon ways”. Peter calls him out. My mind immediately goes back to chapter 5 when Peter called out Ananias, and he dropped dead. Not this time.
Could it be that Simon, unlike Ananias, was acting out of ignorance?
Look at his reaction in verse 24. “Pray for me…” Simon receives the rebuke.
There is a lesson here for me. I am a work in progress. I have years of experience that were not governed by, nor submitted to, Jesus. I literally call them, “My B.C. Years: before Christ.” All followers of Jesus go through a process. The fancy Christian word is sanctification. I am in the process of being sanctified by God. My baptism marks not the completion of God’s work in me, but the start.
And sometimes, sometimes as Jesus works on me, let’s just say, “It ain’t pretty.” I too like Simon cry out “Pray for me.”
The good news for Simon, for me, and for everyone, is that God’s Word has a promise. In Philippians 1:6. Rather than me type out the verse, if you don’t know it, I suggest you memorize it.
Today, as you read this, is the Holy Spirit bringing to your mind anything you need to stop doing, to literally put to death?