Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Acts 8:18-24 (NRSV)
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the chains of wickedness.” Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.”
Earlier in this chapter of Acts we meet Simon, a man of magic, who amazed the people with his power and wonders he could perform. He brought in the crowds; he had the people’s attention, their money, and their respect and admiration—until the gospel came to town. Suddenly, everything the people had understood to be wonderful and powerful was turned on its head, causing them to begin to see the world differently.
Simon also believed this good news. He followed Philip closely, soaking up as much as he could of these new teachings. Then the Holy Spirit came on the scene. The Spirit’s power created such changes in people that Simon couldn’t bear it anymore. He had to have this power. He wanted again to be the one the crowds would swarm. He had forgotten, or never understood, that the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God, the power of the gospel is fundamentally different from the power he once possessed.
The power of the Holy Spirit serves. It changes hearts and minds. It is transforming. It’s not given to bring attention, money, and admiration. It’s given to change the world. Only by allowing this power to take hold in his life, not through any sum of money, could Simon take part in the work of God.
Praise God that this gift is open to us all! How can you open yourself to the Holy Spirit to change the world, starting with your own heart?
Holy Spirit, fall fresh on my heart today. Transform me through your power. Lord, may I lean into you and the community of faith to sustain me as we work to create a world more like your kingdom. Amen.
Go with God.