Archive for November 26th, 2007

Oil and Water

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Acts 16:16-24 (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 (Melody Merida):

In this passage we see a slave girl who had a spirit by which she could predict the future and of her interaction with Paul and Silas.

For several days the girl followed these missionaries and shouted that Paul and Silas were indeed servants of the “Most High God.” She even agreed that Paul and Silas’ message was true. After several days of this, Paul became troubled by her and commanded the spirit to leave the girl immediately.

When I first read this story I asked, “Why would Paul be troubled that the evil spirit was telling the truth about them and whom they were serving?” It wasn’t as if the girl was telling a lie; on the contrary, it was the absolute truth. It wasn’t as if she were trying to deter people from listening to Paul and Silas; indeed her shouting surely brought more attention their way. So what is Paul’s problem here? Why is he so upset about her?

Then I finally got it. I realized that not for one moment could Paul allow the words of an evil spirit be linked to the message of Jesus Christ. Had he allowed this, it would only have served to damage the message he was trying to present about Christ. Never should the truth of the message of Christ be tainted by evil. It’s like mixing oil and water; it just doesn’t work.

So, what does this have to do with me? When I finally got the picture here, I could point to so many times in my own life that I try to compartmentalize my walk with God. I can recognize times that I’ve tried to rationalize why something isn’t bad for me, when in reality it tears at the fabric of my walk with God. Not because it’s evil in-and-of-itself, but because it takes away from God’s importance in my life. I hold onto things that are evil for me and try to reconcile them with my relationship with Jesus. This has never worked; something always has to give. Far too often it’s my relationship with Jesus that does.

Thought for the day: Is there something that, for you, doesn’t mix well with who you should be in Christ? Take the time today to separate the oil and the water. Keep what should be kept and throw the rest 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.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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