Check out all the previous Acts readings here.
Acts Reading Plan | Week 7 | Day 3
As we have been practicing in our daily readings, take a moment to pause, silently. Take a deep breath in and then slowly release. Do this three times. This helps you slow your mind and allows yourself to be more fully present.
In Psalm 103 verse 12, it says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Thank God as you come to spend time with Him, that he has forgiven you of your sins.
Bible Reading: Acts 8:14-25
Read these verses three times slowly.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lordand testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.
Reflection & Questions
We had great hopes for Simon yesterday when we read he was baptized and followed Peter and John wherever they went. All was not what it seemed in the recesses of his heart, though. He still wanted power. He still wanted the glory of being the ‘Great Power of God’ and he was willing to pay for it. Peter tells him: “Your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you… I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” That’s what you call ‘not mincing your words’!
Simon had the wisdom to respond to Peter’s directness in asking for prayer, but we don’t know what happened to him next. His future would hinge on how he would allow God to deal with his character flaws. Would he humbly enter recovery for his power addiction? Would he see that his bitterness and captivity to sin was serious and would prevent him from being a true follower? Or would he return to the easier source of validation (in his case sorcery), distracting himself and others from the real issues of his heart?
Reflecting on our heart’s intention is a good thing. Jesus is far more interested in our character than our productivity. Only what is true in our character will endure to the end.
(On a side note, you may be wondering why those in Samaria had believed but not received the Spirit yet. There’s not room in our daily reading to flesh this out, but this is the only case of this happening and does not follow the pattern in the rest of the early church and the biblical teaching. If you are interested to read more, this article has a detailed explanation.)
Take time to ask God to search your heart and to reveal any character issues He wants to work on. Pause and listen for His answer. In response to what you hear, confess your agreement, ask Him to help you and commit to change.
Our Celebrate Recovery program is an amazing help with hurts, habits and hang ups. If you’ve been wrestling with one or more of those, check out our confidential community for help: Celebrate Recovery
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
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