Reflection on Acts 16:11-24

Scripture

This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.

Observation

Paul and his companions move on to Phillipi, a Roman city in Macedonia. On the Sabbath they go to the river bank, expecting a prayer meeting there. They meet some women there, including Lydia who accepts the message straight away.

On another day, as they are going to the place of prayer, a demonised slave girl starts following them. The evil spirit had given her the power to tell fortunes which made a lot of money for her owners. She starts shouting out that Paul and the others have come to tell people how to be saved. Paul becomes exasperated and commands the demon to leave.

Her masters’ business plan is wrecked, so they drag Paul and Silas to the authorities, who order them beaten and thrown into prison.

Application

Not every testimony is helpful. Testimonies from demons are definitely counter-productive.

On the surface, it seems that the demonised girl was stating the truth- the men were there to tell people how to be saved. But if the words were the same ones repeated over and over, or the volume was too loud, then it would have detracted from the message that Paul was trying to speak. The text does not tell us about the tone of voice the demon was used. It could have been sarcastic or mocking, contradicting the intent of the words.

Over the years, I have heard some testimonies that just did not ring true. The person was saying one thing, but living an entirely different kind of life. I have heard testimonies that used the right words, but left the hearer confused about what it all meant.

For me, the responsibility is to make sure that my life is as good as my testimony; in other words my actions must match my words.

Prayer

Holy Spirit, I invite you to bring conviction to my heart about unconfessed sin and any other action that would detract from the activity of Jesus Christ in my life.

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