NT Fire Starters – Day 188: Acts 19:8-41
READ: Acts 19:8-41
THINK: There’s a battle waging all around you. Though you can’t see it with natural eyes, you can see it’s effects in people’s lives. It’s a spiritual battle for our souls. Most people don’t even realize that they’re caught up in this battle and that their lives are at stake. As a follower of Christ, you must fight the forces of evil that aim to destroy you and everyone around you. But you cannot wage war in your own strength or ingenuity. And you certainly can’t rely on anyone else’s experience or authority in this conflict. You must be personally connected to the Commander-in-Chief of God’s forces: His Son, Jesus. He is your ultimate power source. The more you know Him, the more the enemy will recognize Christ’s unconquerable power and authority in you.
RESPOND: What was the significance of Paul’s aprons and handkerchiefs bringing healing to the sick? (See 19:12 note.) What did the items represent and what does this reveal about Paul? Is this unusual occurrence meant to be imitated? Why or why not? What was the main problem of those who tried to drive out demons by referring to Paul’s ministry? What did this indicate about their own relationship with and reliance on Jesus? (See 19:15 note.) Is it enough to simply believe in Jesus’ power when battling evil? Why or why not? What must we do to exercise Jesus’ authority over evil? What do the actions of those who had previously practiced sorcery indicate about what they had been taught about following Jesus? (See 19:9 note.) Like the rioting crowd in the theater, how do people today get caught up in rebellion against Christ without really knowing what they’re doing or why (v. 32)?
PRAY: Ask God to help you never rely on anyone else’s experience with Jesus, but to help you deepen and strengthen your own relationship with Him so that you’ll have His sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His authority over evil.
ACT: If you’re relying on anyone else’s relationship with Jesus or reputation in ministry to define your own spiritual experience, confess this to Jesus and determine to develop a deep personal relationship with Jesus through time in prayer, His Word and devoted service. If there’s anything you need to get rid of–a tangible item, a bad relationship, a character flaw, etc.–do this without delay so you can follow Jesus without any distraction or hindrance.