“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” Titus 1:16 (NKJV)
Did you ever ask yourself just how pagan you can be? Now, don’t be too taken a-back with that question, I’m not here to accuse you, in any way, shape or form, of being one. It’s just that when we are called to examine ourselves before partaking in the Lord’s Table, I’m usually asking myself just how much have I allowed the world around me to creep into my everyday living. I mean, I walk around claiming the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that guides me daily BUT am I really yielding to that? Hmm…
I recently came across the phrase “a bat in the cave” and it was used to describe a man named Simon (You’ll find this guy in Acts 8:9-24) and he was thought pretty highly of. “This man is the great power of God.” (Acts 8:10b) But in all actually, he was a pagan with a gimmick. His encounter with apostle Phillip would have him baptized and becoming a follower of Phillip but eventually he would offer money to be able to do what the apostles were doing. “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:19) Yeah…this didn’t sit well with Peter.
Ya see, Simon was a guy who played around with witchcraft, and he wasn’t letting his audience in on what he was doing. And even though the things that Phillip preached swayed Simon to be baptized, he thought he could purchase himself a gimmick to show off in front of the masses. Ha-Ha. Peter lets him know right off the bat…
“Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8:20b-23)
After this Simon’s repentance comes out as fast as any bat in a cave does. So, what does this have to do with my opening question? After all, you ain’t practicing no hocus-pocus, right? Let’s examine that.
When you approach the Throne of Grace, are you doing it with this in mind? That Jesus is your friend, with an inside line to God the Father. “Abba, my boy Chris needs a little extra sumthin’ sumthin’ to bless his day. Why don’t You hook a brother up?” If that is your mindset as you dare to “humble yourself” before El Elyon you might as well flip on the Zombie King (TV) and hunt for a weather report because you’re treating God, that is The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit, as a magic 8-Ball. You’re not coming to Him for His presence; you’re going to Him for His predictions.
Matthew Henry would say this, “The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ’s love is a continual feast.” It’s really cool that John 15:15 would tell us that those of us who abide in Jesus Christ can be considered friends and that He will reveal things to you but we tend to forget that Jesus revealed this to us.
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
Simon’s complete folly in his plan of salvation as that if he “appeared” to be abiding in The True Vine, the world would love him (and probably hook him up with lotsa loot) but that proved itself an embarrassing lie and I don’t think we can be any different if we have our own plan of salvation with El Elyon. If your whole inner peace and outward faith is supported with earthly outcomes you might as well go bowling with your magic 8-ball and see if you can score a perfect 300 with that. (e-mail me if that happens)
The last thing we need the world around us to see is that our approach to God is that of someone who is results-driven. Sure, there will be results, but it wouldn’t be because of your personal inside line with your friend Jesus Christ. It will be because you were presence-driven, knowing that El Elyon desires for you to abide with His Son, to be able to make your requests known, so that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Now that oughta chase the bat outta the cave. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine, and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what he is going to do—He reveals to you who He is.” – Oswald Chambers