When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts 8:18-19
Before Simon became a follower of Jesus, he lived in a world with a particular set of rules: power can be bought. In today’s passage, we see him bringing the same mindset into how he thinks about the Spirit.
In order to be radically reoriented to his new life with Jesus, Simon’s old way has to be called out sharply, which is exactly what Peter does for him in tomorrow’s passage.
Simon the sorcerer isn’t the only one who carries the baggage of old patterns of thought and behavior with him into his new life with Christ. We each and every one of us do this too.
If you grow up in a family of origin that promoted people-pleasing, it will affect your life of faith. You’ll find yourself hiding your real self away from your community and burning yourself out trying to earn God’s favor.
If you’ve locked into a mindset that views resources as something to be hoarded and if you’ve habituated a scarcity mentality, it will affect your relationship with God and the church. The financial needs of the community and the mission will weigh on you as a burden, a source of anxiety, and an excuse to evade responsibility.
Align yourself too tightly with a particular community – whether it’s a racial group, political tribe, sporting team, or even religion – and it will affect your experience of the new life God is giving you in Christ. When the word of God inevitably challenges your community (“inevitably” because every community experiences sin and imperfection), you will feel the strong pull to dismiss your community’s shortcomings, amplify the faults of others, and respond accordingly.
The Lord isn’t done with our transformation at the moment of our initial conversion. Every day we follow him he works in our hearts and souls to change the way we think, love and live.
How is the Lord giving you a new mindset? How has your mindset changed since you started following Jesus? Where do you sense the Lord at work in you now?