Message: The power of the Holy Spirit is for every believer, but it’s purpose is not to make us look good, or spiritual or powerful. It’s to glorify God and draw people to HIM. Simon, the former sorcerer became a believer in Jesus and was walking out his process, but he didn’t yet understand the heart behind it all. He had used sorcery for so long to draw attention to himself and use that power to impress others, that he thought that the Holy Spirit could be obtained and used this way as well. Phillip told him to repent and that because his heart was full of evil (all about himself) that he would have no part in it.
Command: Don’t make it about myself!
Promise: The power of the Holy Spirit is a gift and a promise to all believers to accomplish the will of God everywhere we go and draw people to Jesus.
Warning: This gift is for us, but it’s not about us. If there is anything inside us that desires this gift for any other purpose than to glorify God, then our motives are out of place. It’s an easy thing to justify within ourselves and bad motives can creep in any time, so we have to check ourselves.
Application: It’s easy to read this and justify myself since I haven’t tried to buy the Holy Spirit with money, but I think this is much deeper than that. Simon struggled to understand the heart behind the gift because he had previously misused power for selfish gain, and it was the wrong kind of power entirely. After he believed in Jesus he may have naturally gravitated toward a desire for the Holy Spirit thinking the exchange for laying down sorcery for the power of the Holy Spirit made it righteous. He hadn’t yet dealt with the heart issue behind it all. As I read this I thought about musicians and worshippers because this is an area of my gifting. While being a performer is not necessarily selfish, the motives can become of self-serving and easily feed an ego if that is not kept in check. This is no different when musicians find Jesus and use their abilities to worship God. There is an obvious demand for excellence in all that we do, so musicians should not lose the drive to use their gifts with that excellence, but it’s also very easy to fall into the trap of making that excellence about ourselves. This is literally where the devil fell from Heaven as Lucifer, the worship leader to become Satan, the deceiver. There should always be a heart check so that we serve with excellence, but starve our egos. In this story, Phillip called out the heart motive in Simon and called him to repent. Simon responded by asking Phillip to pray for him so that the things he spoke wouldn’t “happen to him”. This isn’t quite repentance yet, because his motive was still about him, and I find it interesting that this is the last we heard of this man. It doesn’t have to be this way with us. God has given us his power, his authority and his gifts but they aren’t about us. We can self-justify so easily by outwardly saying that we are humble, and that our gifts are for God but we really have to pay attention to what is really going on inside our hearts. We have to allow God to identify the things in our hearts that have become about us and be quick to repent.