Tuesday, October 6, 2015

God's Greatness Is Real Greatness

There was a part of him that wanted to go back in time. Back to before he’d accepted Christ as Lord. Back to when he was great, powerful, and important.

Back to when he was somebody.

But one couldn’t go back, could they?

Simon studied these new men. They had arrived a day earlier from Jerusalem. They were interesting characters. They certainly weren’t learned men based on their rough speech, and they certainly weren’t rich men based on the condition of their clothes. However, they did possess a certain quality about them. Strength? Confidence? Authority? Simon wasn’t sure.

One of them, Peter, spoke about a Holy Spirit that needed to fall on them now that they were saved. His eyes blazed with burning passion as he spoke about this spirit. It was quite a big deal to them because all the new believers had been asked to come see Peter and his companion, John.

Simon watched as Peter and John prayed for a man in an unknown language. At once, the man’s entire demeanor changed. It was like a mighty force had fallen upon him, and he staggered under the weight of it. Then, with his hands raised to the sky, he started speaking in another unknown language.

This power was the Holy Spirit?

His heart beat faster, and his thoughts took off running. This power, this was how he could be great once again! If he could become like Peter and John, he would be the greatest person in Samaria! He needed to get their gift. He needed to be able to bring the Holy Spirit down on people. A smile split his face as he pushed through the crowd towards Peter and John. He would be great once again.

Based on Acts 8:14-24

"But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great." Acts 8:9

"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, 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 the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, 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 in the bond of iniquity.' And Simon answered, 'Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.'" Acts 8:14-24

Part of me always felt like Peter’s response to Simon the magician was a bit harsh. He was a new Christian and didn’t understand. That much is true, but the thing is, Simon was used to being a great man. He had spent a lot of time telling people he was great, and he was used to being treated like an important man.

He didn’t understand.

What he didn’t understand was that real greatness isn’t something that can be bought. It’s not even something we can achieve. Real greatness is God. God is great. When we serve God wholeheartedly, it’s not that He makes us great; it’s that His greatness is able to shine through us.

Simon didn’t understand, and sometimes I wonder if we understand. There is a difference. Are we striving to be great, and then tack on “for God” at the end? Or are we striving to show God’s greatness? 

P.S. Striving to show God’s greatness is the kind of servant’s heart that is greatly used by God.

V. Joy Palmer

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