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God’s Not for Sale

God’s not for sale. I know that the shiny cars and silly hairstyles on television might cause some to believe differently, but God’s not for sale. The thousands of pastors with more education than many college professors living on a modest salary should testify that God is not for sale. Although there are many out there attempting to use God for profit, true religion, religion that honors God, is never a for-profit business.

Simon the magician learned this. He was used to impressing people with magic to make money. It isn’t clear whether he was performing illusions, which is what we usually mean when we say ‘magic,’ or whether he was empowered by dark forces. The latter seems more likely given that the people were convinced he had power (verse 10). So, either he was empowered by spiritual forces or using illusion to deceive people into believing he was.

When this magician believed, he probably gave up a lot. He would have had to renounce his magic before Philip would have baptized him (Verse 13). Because, whether he was demonically empowered or faking power to deceive people into giving him money, there was going to be no place for what he was doing in the Kingdom of God. He was going to need to find another line of work.

Old habits die hard, though. And even though he was a true believer, he was used to making money through spiritual power. So when he saw Peter and John lay hands on people who would receive the Holy Spirit, he wanted that power. He knew it could make him a profit. Perhaps, he could have his job back! He could just do it in the name of Jesus now.

So, Simon offers them money for that power. He is used to making an investment in his business. And Peter rebukes him immediately. He even says that he’ll perish with his silver. To Simon’s credit, he repents immediately and asks Peter to pray for him.

It is tempting to try to use God for our benefit. We want to give money to the church so that God will give us a job. We want to pray more so God will be in our debt and save our loved ones from illness.

Pastors aren’t exempt from this temptation. We want to use gifts of the Spirit and anointing for preaching to have people talk about how smart we are. We want to use gifts God gives us for writing to sell books. We want to be rewarded for our spirituality with a lot of blog hits or Twitter followers. In short, we want to build our kingdom.

The problem is, God isn’t for sale. He is about His mission in the world, not yours. His power is available to believers, but only for the benefit of His kingdom. The beautiful thing is, when you seek his kingdom, you get all the other stuff you need thrown in.

Seek God’s kingdom today. Repent, like Simon did, for how you try to use God for your benefit. Then, work to build up His kingdom. Doing this reminds us of one, unalterable truth. God isn’t for sale.

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