Simon was a stupid sorcerer who needed to “Wise Up”. How could he be so ignorant as to think he could buy the Holy Spirit? Simon was a new believer who wanted some of the action Peter and John were dishing out. He was so keen he was willing to invest money.
But didn’t he know you can’t buy God’s power? That kind of awesome only comes from genuine, two-way relationship with God.
Stupid sorcerer indeed.
But how many of us do the same thing?
My hand is in the air again.
And I suspect I am not alone.
- Have inner peace because or your priorities
- Sleep well due to your strivings and service
- Are confidently calm because of your convictions
- Jump with joy due to conquering disciplines?
Not for sale
As soon as we strive to achieve the gifts of the Spirit in our own strength, or works, we are committing the same sin as the sorcerer when he tried to buy them. And when these strivings become a source of calm and contentment, we’ve totally missed the mark. God is the source of both the gifts and the contentment.
Foster says in Celebration of Discipline, once we have received the gift of the Spirit, Divine love takes over and,
In the unguarded moments there is a spontaneous flow from the inner sanctuary of our lives of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.Richard Foster, “Celebration of Discipline“, p.7.
These qualities come as naturally as breathing.
Last week in Mother Up, I wrote that each of us are created in the image of God. And the qualities of God embedded in His children find relevance in different expressions of His creation. But there are some qualities that find relevance in all of God’s children; the fruit of His Spirit.
Like breathing, these qualities just happen. They are the consequence of cohabitating with the Spirit.
Back the Sorcerer
Simon’s main fault was pride.
He boasted that he was someone great and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.”Acts 8:9-10
So when someone else came along demonstrating greater power, he wanted it. He wanted it bad enough to pay for it.
Rather than stepping out of the spotlight and allowing the flow of the Spirit to freely transform and empower, he thought to pay for the gifts in order to add them to the collection of feathers already decorating his cap.
Are we any different? Are there any among us who,
- Don’t struggle with handing over the spotlight?
- Bow readily to the painful process of transformation?
- Doesn’t struggle with pride?
My hand is definitely not up this time.
Yet, how can we take pride in qualities that are not ours? Fruit of the Spirit flow naturally from the one who is in tune with the Spirit. Do we expect praise for breathing? Neither should we take credit for the transformation worked by God. For both are consequences of connection. One with the physical body, one with the Spiritual.
All we have done is receive.
Sadly, for Simon, his misunderstanding was used as an object lesson, much like Ananias and Sapphira. Thankfully however, rather than dropping dead, Simon took a hit to the heart; his finances. The fruit of his greed and pride.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
In order not to end up an object lesson like the Sorcerer, we need to Wise Up.
The Christian life is not about us.
We can’t buy, work for, or earn the precious gift we have received. It is wholly and solely that; a gift – of which we are unworthy. Added to that, any victories we achieve are not ours. Rather, they have been won purely by us getting out of the way so that the Spirit may work.
Paul said it best,
14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.Galatians 6:14
This is an old lesson that has hit home again as I work through Acts and Foster’s Disciplines. Like me, do you,
- Struggle getting out of the way of the Spirit’s work?
- Suffer with pride from improvement?