Monday, May 11, 2009

Power and Control

Simon had power. He was a magician and he had followers. He had people who proclaimed his greatness. Then he heard Philip and he believed. He was baptized. It would be a nice story if Simon's whole self was radically changed. It would be clean and simple if he went under the water as Simon the Sorcerer and came up out of the water as Simon the perfect Christ-follower, devoid of the old desires and hang-ups that were such a part of his life.

That's not the way the story goes. Simon goes under the water Simon the Sorcerer and comes back up as Simon the guy who has a lot of work to do - just like all of us. Simon sees what appears to be the Apostles' power (really it was God's power) and Sorcerer Simon starts to speak up. He wants it. He wants what he used to have. He tries to take God's power and bend it to Sorcerer Simon's way of life. Simon tries to control God by buying His power with money so he can do what he wants with it. God doesn't play that game.

That's why we can't buy grace. That's why we can't earn it. That's why it can only be accepted as a free gift. If we buy it or barter for it or earn it, we control it and we haven't gained anything at all. What we need to do is surrender. That's the point of all of this - to put God back in control. To restore what was twisted.

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