Many of my heroes growing up were professional athletes. Some were great examples to follow and some were probably not the best to follow. When I was in little league I would roll up my sleeves like Bo Jackson, in basketball, I would wear the knee support just like Michael Jordan, and none of those things gave me the ability to do the things those guys were able to do. Of course, I hoped they would! Some people in Ephesus mimicked leaders similar to what I had done, but they had different expectations than I did.
Some people saw the power of magicians, priests, the Apostle Paul, and even Paul’s handkerchief to heal the sick and cast out evil spirits. They tried to follow and do the same thing (Acts 19:11-16). The problem was they forgot the real power was from God and not the people they emulated. A severe incident of trying to use the power they didn’t have, left a few beaten and in fear from trying to do something they couldn’t (Acts 19:16). A radical change was needed in the hearts of the people, so the lives of the people could be fixed.
The incident became known all around and it caused something to happen that was needed- repentance. A radical change of heart, because they realized there was something wrong in their practice before God. This led to a few simple steps that show how repentance is not just a little course correction, but a complete turnaround. First, the people confessed (Acts 19:18), they did not hide or pretend nothing happened, they shared it to start the process. Second, they disclosed the things that were causing problems between them and God (Acts 19:19). Third, they severed their tie with the scrolls and the thinking that played a part in their sin (Acts 19:19). Three simple acts were more powerful than the things they were trying to do.
The power is not ours it is God’s (Acts 19:11). It is God’s unfathomable kindness that calls us to repentance (Romans 2:4). It is Jesus who takes away our condemnation (Romans 8:1). Why because he loves you, he loves us (John 3:16). His love, his kindness, his Son, and his power allow us to repent and be transformed by grace. I learned to stop trying to be like Bo or Mike and start being who God has called me to be. It was a process of confession, disclosure, and severing ties with the lie’s I believed. If you need some help in the process, we are here to help.
Pastor Jeremy Johnson