| My thoughts today are about being . . . “known and recognized.”
A lot of people think that they are better, or more widely known, that they actually are on some occasions. Often celebrities complain of no privacy, until they are in public and not recognized. Then they are disappointed.
Assuming you will be known and recognized, only to be asked, “Who are you?” is a very deflating experience. Maybe you have had an experience like that.
At the church where I had served for 10 years, each time I returned for a visit I was greeted warmly and called by name. I have to admit, that felt good. But I remember the first time that I was not known and recognized by someone there. I had arrived back as the Sunday pulpit guest, only to be politely but clearly stopped in the church office by the new and young receptionist as I headed past her desk to the pastor’s office.
She had no idea who I was, and I felt a myriad of conflicting emotions – momentarily upset, a little peeved at her failure, feeling unimportant, and then a bit embarrassed that I presumed that I was owed her recognition.
Today’s verse introduces seven sons of a High Priest who, having seen Paul successfully casting out evil spirits, “took it upon themselves to call the name of Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ’We command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’” They presumed to imitate Paul’s ministry and spiritual authority by commanding an evil spirit to leave. The result was disastrous. The evil spirit acknowledged, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?” And the evil spirit came out all right – attacking them and leaving them injured and running for their lives!
They wanted the power without first paying the price as Paul had. They had mastered the religious formula, but had not been given the spiritual authority. (my emphasis!!) That’s not the way that the power of God works in your life. The power of God is not given to use as you will, but directed by God through you to do His will. God will empower you to accomplish what He directs, not what and whenever you choose.
If the devil does not know who you are, it may well be that you don’t recognize who you are in Christ! “And you are complete in Christ Jesus, Who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:9-10. When the devil reminds you who you were before without Christ, you remind him of who you are now in Christ. “That at that time you were without Christ . . having no hope and without God in the world; but now in Christ Jesus you are made near to Him by the blood of Jesus.” Ephesians 2:12-13. “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
Spirit-empowered living cannot be “duplicated, bought, borrowed or faked.” It is only the result of your abiding relationship with Jesus (See John 15:1-7), your submission to obey the will of God at all times, and your grounding in the Truth and Word of God. Without those you are no match for the enemy.
My prayer for you today is that you will know who you truly are in Christ Jesus.