God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled. A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. Acts 19:11 - 19 (NLT)
Have you ever intentionally acted like someone else you admired? People do it all the time. Check out American Idol and you see the latest incarnation of Madonna or Whitney Houston. A whole generation of star-struck “wannabe’s” in the 50’s and 60’s slicked-back their pompadour hair styles and became Elvis impersonators.
It wasn’t a pretty sight!
It also didn’t work very well for Sceva’s sons. Sceva was a priest of Israel, and his seven sons were in the family business. They had heard of the wonderful miracles accompanying Paul’s ministry, and they wanted in on that deal. They assumed the legitimacy of being “priests of Israel” gave them an automatic connection with whatever they chose in the religious realm.
They were wrong!
The problem was that they could say the words and really mean it, but there was no power, because God had chosen Paul for that ministry – not them. Instead of being the rock stars of the healing circuit like they expected with demons being evicted left and right, the seven sons got a good whoopin’. They ran from the scene naked and battered. Their so-called ministry attempts bought them a ton of misery.
Don’t know about you, but I’ve been there.
I’ve tried to preach like my heroes and lead my church like a successful big-church, doin’-it-my-way popular leader. I’ve also gotten a whoopin’ or two!
What’s interesting about this wannabe like the big boys syndrome is that God can use even that brand of foolishness to bring about some pretty amazing results. For the Sceva boys, their whoopin’ started a revival. All the other wannabe exorcists got a dose of humble repentance, confessed their sinful ways and burned their sorcery books (iPads?) in a public revival meeting!
They got straight!
What about today?
Where are you headed, and what prevents you from being you…the person God created, nurtured and expects you to be? Not like anyone but you…just you, being you.
Heavenly Father; I give you this day. Help me reject being a counterfeit, and give me the strength to be Your hands in this world – but only in the unique way You created and called me.