Acts 19:19 ESV
And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.
These followers of Christ did not ask themselves, but shouldn’t we sell them and use the money to feed the poor. No, because they saw the danger in those things that are demonic and are not glorifying the Lord. They not only wanted nothing to do with it themselves any longer, but they didn’t want it to be an influence in the lives of anyone they might sell them to. Why would we want to contribute to the negative influence of others and receive money for doing it. Isn’t that like being a hired hand for the enemy? Getting paid to influence someone else towards the pit.
And they didn’t hang onto it saying, “but I’ll be able to use it as common ground with those still involved in it, so that I can better witness to them”. They weren’t still making excuses for clinging to their old lives because they knew that it was a snake, that its bite was dangerous and poisonous.
Yes, they cut it out of their lives and cast it into the fire. They knew that they were in the most of a spiritual battle –
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Galatians 5:17 NLT
And we should know that we are in the midst of a battle. We should not be resting complacent in the midst ofthe darkness. We need to equip ourselves and be aware, understanding, and discerning. We need to recognize and acknowledge and appreciate the very different voice of our sinful nature compared to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Shouldn’t we recognize those things that are of the flesh, and be able to recognize and discern the voice of the enemy –
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
Yes, the evidence of these things in a life reflects an unhealthy area that has not yet been surrendered/delivered/overcome. Chains. Burdens. Strongholds in that person’s life that allows the sinful nature, the very thing that is in opposition to the Spirit, to use them in ways that do not bring glory and honor to the name of the Lord.
With each moment, with each decision, with each thought, word, and action, we have the opportunity to either follow our sinful nature or walk in the Spirit.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
Galatians 5:22-24 NLT
The Spirit, the nature, the reason behind why we do what we do is the key. It really matters which voice we are listening to. It matters which of those lists we truly desire.
If we are just trying to live up to this Christian thing but we are still desiring those things of the flesh, we need to examine ourselves because we might be practicing religion under our own power with no power, no anointing, no presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must cut those things out of our lives with the sword, the Word of God, the surgical instrument that we use to operate on ourselves and remove the disease to be cast into the fire. If we are clinging to them instead of casing them away, then doesn’t our desire betray the truth of our rebellion?
Even Paul died daily to the Lord, surrendering anew, running the race to the end, making his life a living sacrifice to the Lord. Our work is not finished, friend. It is not time for you to sit down in the midst of those things that need to be cut out and cast into the fire. Look deeper into the Word and examine yourselves closely.
What exists in your life today that is not glorifying God? What needs to be burned away so that you can finally experience healing in your life? What needs to happen to get you up and active and alive?
I pray that we will find it today and each day, applying this Word of God to our own lives, sweeping this temple clean for His presence, as He comes to sup with us, and as He finds us equipped and ready to serve as the body of Christ. As we are the vessels he uses and as He lives in us, and as He serves through us, and He touches the lives of others with this amazing grace that we too have received.
And this amazing grace is more valuable than pieces of silver or gold. Let’s be sure that we recognize and understand and believe it’s value above all the temporary things of this world.