There is just a huge difference in being religious and being redeemed. It all starts at the heart. Since the time of Adam and Eve, all God wanted was for his chosen people to realize how he loved them and to have them simply want to be in relationship with him. The idea of knowing about God as a means to further your life and purpose has always been man’s failed way of bringing himself to an equal place as God.
The Jews in Ephesus wanted to make themselves equals with Paul and his mission in Ephesus. They knew all about God after all! So they went around attacking evil and entering spiritual warfare claiming Paul’s authority in Jesus. The evil spirits and the enemy was not impressed. He made it clear–I know Jesus and I know Paul–but you simply are not them!!! The result was horrific for the imposters. They were beaten and left naked and bleeding.
It is not a great deal different in our culture. So many people want to get their spiritual look on and claim God’s power with no real knowledge or relationship with him. They act spiritual (or so they think)–but they have no clue of who God really is or what He can mean in their lives. So, they play church and play religion and when they enter the battle ground of spiritual warfare, they are soundly defeated and left bleeding and naked.
Meanwhile, those of us who choose to follow Christ are prepared for battle and armed with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We realize it is a difficult fight, a challenging journey but one we do not do alone. The more we lean into God and his power, the more his victory and grace shine through!The enemy sees and respects him–and does not question or intimidate us. We are his and we are victorious in him. Galatians 2:20 says it best, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me! The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me!”
God Bless You
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.