This chapter has two very different examples of people trying to do things using Jesus’ name. The first is Paul, and the second is a group of Jewish exorcists.
The Lord was doing such amazing things through Paul that even a piece of cloth he had touched could be carried away and it would heal people. The Jewish exorcists saw this and tried to cast out an evil spirit using Jesus’ name to do it. But it didn’t work. The spirit basically kicked their butts and left.
So why the difference in results?
Paul had completely given himself to Jesus. He held nothing back. So the Lord was able to use 100% of him. And he did. Paul himself had no power to heal anyone. It was the power of Jesus working through him, and Paul completely surrendered to that.
The Jewish exorcists, on the other hand, hadn’t given one piece of themselves to Jesus. They were just copying Paul. They wanted the same results but didn’t want to give anything up to get them.
The power of Jesus was the same in both cases. But it was an issue of surrender.
Zero surrender = zero space Jesus to work.
Maximum surrender = maximum space for Jesus to work.
I know I fall somewhere in the middle of that, and I’m pretty sure that’s why the Lord pointed this out to me today. He wants all of me. He wants me to give 100% of myself to him so that he has 100% of that space to work in me and through me. He wants me to stop holding back so that I stop limiting his power in my life. And he surely doesn’t want me to leave space for the enemy to kick my butt because I’ve limited his power.
I know I do this. I know I hang on to things I should give to him. I know I try to do things in my own power. I know there are spaces I just refuse to invite him into. What I don’t know is why.
He gave his life for me, so why is it so hard to give mine right back to him? He held nothing back from me when he went to the cross, so why do I keep holding things back from him? He gave me full access to him, so why can’t I give him the same? I can’t even answer that except to say that it’s something I’ve got to work on.
I’ve surrendered parts of me to Jesus. Now I need to get busy surrendering the rest.
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