Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

The City of Sorceries

“And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”

Acts 19:18-20
 

Are there still things in your life which stand in the way of a healthy (more effective) following of Jesus Christ? I suppose that, at the time of the former Greek city Ephesus (modern Turkey) there wasn't such an overflow of distractions as there are in modern times with the so-called “consumer society”. But, this does not necessarily mean, that it is more difficult to believe in God and the practice of faith as it was in earlier times. There were perhaps much less temptations and distractions, but those which were prevalent in those times, were most probably really active. What is written here about “sorcery books” (Luther) is pure occultism, also belief in spiritual worlds and their influence in all anti-God practises. I don't know what such a book cost in those days, but with 50,000 silver pieces/denarius one could most likely purchase a vast amount of sorcery books. Monetary historians estimate the worth of 1 denarius at approximately 64 Euros. Therefore, books worth approximately 3,2 million Euros were burnt! Before the Gospel was preached, heard and accepted in Ephesus, the city (approximately 200,000 inhabitants) must have been a stronghold for the devil. It must have been an overwhelming event when these books were burnt in public. This deed had lasting consequences. In Acts 19:20, we read: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” What uplifted the souls and faith of the people of this city in those days, also uplifts us today. The power of God and His Word is most effective (mighty and powerful) where it is not hindered nor ignored and where it is not compromised. Certainly, a child of God is free (John 8:32) and nothing is forbidden to us even if everything is not beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12), but the Bible still gives us certain recommendations when it concerns those things which will hinder or grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). For one thing, that we don't, through our behaviour, our way of life and attitude, have a negative influence on someone else or be a bad example to others (1 Corinthians 8:9/Mark 9:42).

But also, that we will separate ourselves from things which hinder us from following Jesus, so that the Spirit can flow and so that God is glorified and the Gospel, through our daily lives, releases the radiance and power which will bless us and others. Thus, once more the initial question: “Are there still things in your life which stand in the way of a healthy (more effective) following of Jesus Christ?” Here, certainly no-one should point the finger at others, but firstly towards himself. This doesn't necessarily have to mean obvious or secret sins, but may also include those things which prevent me from regularly praying with joy and interest, reading the Bible and attending meetings – to see my brothers and sisters in Christ. Such an unbiblical tendency is not always with evil intent, however how quickly one gets used to less and doesn't notice when one has separated oneself from a healthy faith life? The enemy does not sleep and is very cunning. The promises to yourself and others are not helpful, because the way to better and healthier is paved with good intentions, which usually quickly evaporate from your everyday life. One must just not omit the omissions any more. Every Christian has their own life, their own family their own freedom and also their own conscience. Everything which hinders us in following Jesus, has nothing to do with freedom. God definitely has nothing against hobbies (I also enjoy football and crime stories). He also has nothing against creativity, fun, enthusiasm, excitement and beauty. But, every person needs to ask himself, at what point does it become too much? At what stage is it not worth it any more? At what point does God take on second, third or last place in my faith life? When does temporal become more important than eternal? When does career and making money become more important than our every day worship in the real sense? When do things become more important than people? When do people become more important than God?

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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