Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! . . . Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?”
— Acts 13:9-10
Barnabas, Saul (Paul), and John (Mark) were on a mission to bring the good news of God’s salvation in Jesus to people who had not heard it before. And they met some resistance from Elymas, a sorcerer and false prophet. Our enemy, the devil, was trying to stop the gospel from being preached there. Elymas went so far as to try turning his employer, the proconsul, away from having faith in Christ.
Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, let the power of the Spirit do his work against this demonic influence. The words sound harsh, but then so did Jesus’ words to Peter when he said, “Get behind me Satan” (Matthew 16:23).
There is only one way to be right with God. And that means opening ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of God, “the Spirit of truth” who guides us “into all truth” (John 16:13).
In response to the teaching about the Lord, and having seen the powerful work of the Spirit through Paul, the proconsul believed. In a battle between God’s Spirit and the devil’s lies, the Spirit will always win.
Let us be wise in who we follow.
Thank you, Father, for the gift of your Son, Jesus, and for the empowerment of your Spirit in your church. May the church be humble, strong, and faithful. Amen.