Far greater than your ‘what’ is your ‘why.’
If we aren’t careful while observing someone enjoying a privilege we wish we could partake of ourselves, we can open the door to jealousy and envy.
And after jealousy and envy make themselves at home and comfortable, they tend to invite their friends, judgment and criticism.
This is what it means to fall prey to the ‘lust of the eyes’ — a phrase John mentions in his ﬁrst letter (1 John 2:16).
The problem with lust is that it’s self-centered. It’s incapable of thinking of anyone else but itself.
Sadly, its existence in a person’s life will always prevent any prayer oﬀered from that motivation to go unanswered (James 4:1-3).
We see these very truths manifesting in the life of a man named Simon in Acts 8.
Prior to Philip’s arrival, this man would astound the crowds in Samaria with what the people called “the Great Power of God” (Acts 8:10).
But Simon wasn’t anointed with the Holy Spirit. He was merely practicing magic.
After Samaria received the word of God through Philip’s ministry, Peter and John made the 40 mile journey from Jerusalem to pray for these new converts so that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of Peter and John’s hands, he oﬀered them money to partake of the same authority.
He wanted to buy what only grace could supply.
Although Simon’s motives may appear to be good and right, in actuality, they were not.
He wanted to possess this ability for his sake, his beneﬁt, and not for the sake or beneﬁt of others.
Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostle’s hands and because his heart was not right before God, the door was opened to jealousy and envy (Acts 8:18-21).
In fact, Peter urges Simon to repent and to pray for the intention of his heart to be forgiven.
The intention of our hearts is what matters most.
That phrase is the point of the story.
In other words, Peter is telling Simon to pray for his motive, his ‘why’ to be forgiven.
I don’t know about you, but there is little else I want more than a pure heart.
I cannot look you in the eye and boldly proclaim that every motive in my life is clean.
I myself have been confronted many times with my ‘why’ in ministry.
Why do you want that?
Why do you want to do that?
Why does it matter?
Why is that important to you?
Here, Simon wanted the same authority Peter and John had to do what Peter and John were doing. It seems right.
It seems noble.
It seems like he was touched by their example.
It seems like he wants to bless others.
But the truth is that he wanted it for himself.
He didn’t have any one else in mind — although it seemed like he did.
Are you catching it yet?
I’m not even sure that Simon was aware of his own motives, but the Holy Spirit was and
Peter sniﬀed it out.
Be open to correction.
Be open to adjustment.
It’s for your beneﬁt and the beneﬁt of those around you.
I’m not asking any of you to examine your life in such a way that produces paranoia and paralysis. Even Paul said that he didn’t examine himself. That was God’s responsibility (1 Corinthians 4:4).
At the same time, don’t be afraid to ask yourself the question — WHY?
Who is it for?
Who is it about?
Such questions are a safeguard to us and help us to protect the very thing from which everything in life ﬂows — our hearts.
Rather than become jealous over someone who’s enjoying what it is you want (i.e. a position, a title, an opportunity, a gift, etc.), learn to rejoice for them and bless them. Be thankful.
This response will slam the door on that green eyed monster.
On top of that, be careful where you ﬁx your eyes. Keep them on the beauty of Jesus. Be captivated with Him. Don’t be arrested by people.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries