Jump Start # 2912
Acts 8:21 “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.”
Lately I have been writing these Jump Starts several days in advance. As I write this one, it comes the day after a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed multiple U.S. servicemen. There is a deadline to leave that country. There is a rush to get all our citizens out. This who fiasco has been layered with mistakes and problems.
Our Jump Starts do not travel down the road of politics. That’s a lane I try to stay out of. But what has happened leads to a great spiritual lesson for us. It is first shown to us from our verse today. The apostles came to Samaria. One must wonder if they had been back since that day Jesus led them there. Philip was preaching up a storm in Samaria. Many were listening and changing because of the word of Christ. The apostles came to lay their hands on some of the believers so they could receive the Holy Spirit. Philip could not do that. This Philip was not one of the apostles.
Simon the sorcerer, now a believer saw what the apostles were doing. He wanted what they had. It wasn’t the gift of the Holy Spirit, but the power to give it to others. That would have put Simon in a prominent place. He like prominent places. He offered to buy this power from the apostles. Peter immediately rebuked him and told him that he was in the bond of iniquity and the gall of bitterness. His heart, Peter tells us, was not right with God.
And, this is where our thoughts take us today. What are we to do when we stand beside Simon? What are we to do when we have made a mess of things? This can manifest itself in many ways. It can happen at home where the husband, chasing some get rich quick schemes, totally messes up the family finances. I’ve known some who lost their entire life’s savings by getting into unsafe and risky investments. But, once that has happened, what does a person do? There are times when a person has moved his family across country for what was thought to be a great job and a great opportunity only to find out it wasn’t. Now, what does a person do?
Here are some thoughts:
First, Simon was a new convert. Don’t expect a new convert to understand things. Simon did not know that one cannot buy, purchase, borrow or steal the gifts and power of God. That can’t be done. He thought it could. New converts can say things that are not Biblically accurate. They may not understand how the church operates, the role of shepherds or even what a congregation is to do with the money collected. Peter shut Simon down. There was no discussion taking place. Simon was out of line and Peter was letting him know that. More Bible studies and more teaching is what must follow. A new convert must not be left to their own.
Second, when we have messed things up, it’s time to be honest. This is hard. Pride wants us to save face. Pride leads us to hiding what has happened or pointing the finger to someone else. But recovery from a mistake begins when we are honest. You’ll find more sympathy, support and help when you are honest than when it is discovered and you have been kicking the can down the road or trying to keep it from others. Being truthful may bring a heap of criticism, complaining and harshness directed towards you. You messed up. But being honest will help you from making mistakes like that again.
Third, listen to sound godly advice and do what is right. Peter told Simon to repent. Simon was now broken. He begged Peter to pray for him. So often the mistakes and messes we get ourselves into is because we did things without seeking advice. We thought we knew what was best, but we didn’t. And, now that we have fallen into a deep hole, we need help to get out. This will humble us. This will change us. This will lead us to the right steps. Prayer must be included in this. God must be invited in.
Fourth, some mistakes take only a moment to create, but they can take months, even years to recover from. This is why decisions such as switching jobs, moving out of state, marrying someone, going to a college must be thought out and looked at from several vantage points and perspectives. The glitter of gold can blind us to some real spiritual dangers that we fail to see. This is why talking things out, seeking advice, being transparent is always the best road to travel. Some people live with their mistakes the rest of their lives. A foolish dare leads to a pregnancy, a DUI, an addiction, an arrest. Those things just don’t go away. Simply saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t rewind what happened. Consequences follow choices. The wrong choices will lead to the painful consequences of sorrow and misery.
I don’t know how our country is going to get out of this mess in Afghanistan. But, greater than that, how are you going to get out of the mistakes and messes you have made? Jesus is always the door. Jesus is always the answer. Jesus is always the help.
Adam and Eve sure made a mess of things. Satan and the serpent were gone. It took God to come and clean up everything. He sure does love us, even when we have ignored Him and followed a serpent.