Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

November 13th, 2007 • Category: Book of Acts
by Steve Adams

Today’s scripture: Acts 14:8-20 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Steve Adams):

Upon first reading, the crowd’s reaction to Paul’s healing of this man who had been crippled from birth seems very strange, doesn’t it? I mean, making Paul into a god seems like a bit much, right? Well, I thought so too until I realized something that helped it all make sense to me; namely, the things people try to make gods out of change over time, but human nature doesn’t. It seems “really out there” that those people were so devoted to Zues and Hermes, but even today we still have the same urge to build our little idols.

Over my lifetime, I’ve made gods out of not only some of my religious leaders like the people at Lystra did, but also my favorite sports team, celebrity, that new boyfriend who I was crazy about . . . the list could go on and on! Caring about any of these things can be a really good thing, as long as I don’t cross the line from caring to “deifying”! The inevitable result of making “gods” out of flawed humans is, of course, disappointment. Sooner or later we get “that sinking feeling” when we are confronted with the hard evidence that they aren’t perfect like gods are supposed to be!

Yet the biggest consequence of having a false god is that our relationship with Jesus Christ deteriorates as a result of it. Nothing will truly satisfy us except for the REAL THING! Anything that makes us less sensitive to the subtle guiding of the Holy Spirit, which we need in order to obtain the necessary wisdom in order to successfully navigate our spiritual journey of discipleship is, I think, regarded as a waste of time by God.

Paul must not have been distracted by earthly idols, because he NOTICED the man who had been crippled from birth; looked at him intently, perceived that he had faith to be healed, and then told him to stand up! How easy it would have been for him to simply walk by this man and not realize the miracle God had in store. But, no, Paul was sensitive to and and in tune with the Holy Spirit.

Thought for the day: What am I passionate about? Where do I invest my time and money? Have these things brought me closer to God, or driven me farther away?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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