Acts 19:23-29, 32
23 About that time, there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.” 28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar…
32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
This silversmith gained his wealth through idolatry, literally. He made idols for a living to sell to people to worship their false gods. When he heard that Paul was converting all of these people to Christianity, he was so worried about losing his livelihood and his business. His comforts and ways of living were at risk. He also was concerned that the temple would be “counted as nothing” - that what he was giving his time and devotion to was worthless.
He brought men from similar trades all together and began to tell them about what Paul was doing and warning them that this man was threatening their livelihoods as well because of the gospel. He wanted people to be on his side and be angry with him.
Could we be like Demetrius? If the Holy Spirit asked you to change things in your life: habits, lifestyles, mindsets, would you feel angry? What whispers from the Father have you been pushing aside due to your comforts and ways of living being at risk?
Many of us could also be acting similarly to the men that Demetrius gathered together, and even the townspeople that showed up at the riot. Some were confused as to why they were even there, what they were shouting about, and why they were even angry.
Are we easily swayed or convinced? Do we have voices in our lives that are encouraging us to stay where we are?
Christ is beckoning us to go DEEPER. The purpose of these 21 days of prayer and fasting is to go deeper. But until we are willing to lay aside idols and weights, old habits and paralyzing lifestyles, we will stay exactly where we are. You can pray, you can fast, but until you decide to put Him first, the change that you want to see in your life will not happen. Let us decide together, today, that we will re-prioritize our lives to put God first. We are called to be continually growing and going deeper with Him.
Today, take some time in solitude and silence. Put down distractions and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the things you may have been prioritizing ahead of him. Here are some questions to ask yourself get you started:
What is something that I have been putting before Christ?
Where have I reflected the world in my identity instead of Jesus?
What am I afraid to lose for the sake of knowing Him more deeply?
Are the people in my life encouraging me to grow or to remain stagnant in my faith?
Lord, thank you for the grace you give me when I put you second to other things. I know that there are idols in my life that I put before you, but sometimes it’s hard to recognize. Reveal them to me. You have so much more ahead for me and for my life, and I want to experience that fullness of life; not what the world can offer, but that you can offer - life more abundantly. Loosen the grip of the control that I hold over my own life and help me hand over the reins to You. When there are people in my life swaying me from your voice, show me. When an idol comes creeping in, reveal it to me with the power of your Holy Spirit, and turn my gaze towards You. I choose You today and I put You first in my heart and in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.