Monday, April 27, 2015

Diagnosis: bitter and bound

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 8:4-24

TO CHEW ON: “But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great….And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power…” Acts 8:9, 18-19.

When the Samaritan sorcerer became a believer, the Samaritan Christians may have celebrated–as Christians often do when celebrities come to the Lord. The local papers may have been a tad more cynical: “Wizard Converts – what new trick is up his sleeve?” In his case, such skepticism would have been warranted. For as we read the whole story, we discover that all is not right with Simon’s attitude. He has an ulterior motive for following Jesus.

Though he is genuinely impressed with the signs and wonders the disciples perform and wants to be on the side of such power, he still has the mindset that this new religion is going to work wonders for business. Because when he sees the Holy Spirit coming on people in response to Peter and John laying hands on them, he comes with money and says, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Of course Peter will have none of that. With a word of knowledge he names the wellspring of Simon’s request: bitterness and the bondage to sin, and admonishes him to repent.

Sometimes I think we’re not that different from Simon. He was trying to manipulate God to achieve his own purposes. Don’t we often do the same? We ask for help in our work–not so He gets the glory, but so we do. Our prayers are full of requests designed to further our comfort, ease and well-being.

How can we know if our attitudes are wrong? And how can we deal with the roots of them? We need an outside perspective on our own heart-condition. Like the Holy Spirit revealed things about Simon to Peter, He can enlighten us by His word to our own poisons and bondages (Hebrews 4:12).

PRAYER: Dear God, please show me inner attitudes and motivations that displease You. Help me understand their origins so I can deal with them at their roots. Amen.

MORE: Peter pronounces Simon “bound by iniquity.”
“For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and a bond forged by iniquity to fetter souls” Acts 8:23 AMP

What is this ‘iniquity’?
[Iniquity: adikia – ad-ee-kee-ah: “Misdeeds, injustice, moral wrongdoing, unjust acts, unrighteousness, iniquity.”* (That sounds pretty bad!). “It is the opposite of truthfulness, faithfulness and rightness.” (Oh oh – that brings it closer to home; you mean even a little sneakiness, a shade of untruth can begin to forge a bondage?)
*From “Word Wealth” – The New Spirit Filled Life Bible.]


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (

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