“Betcha can’t eat just one!”

Luke 16: 16-21

Remember Lay’s Potato Chip commercial, “Betcha can’t eat just one!”  It became a mantra in our family for anything we were just going to “taste” but we knew one bite almost always leads to another.  Luke now shares a very interesting scenario.  Paul and Silas are in Philippi and have gone to “a place of prayer” outside the city gate where they meet Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, who is also seeking God.  She believes and invites them to stay at her home.  Again Paul and Silas go to their place of prayer.  Luke says that they are met by a female slave who can tell the future and follows them around proclaiming, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  Like the potato chip commercial, she is telling the truth.  The potato chip is tasty and eating one will lead to eating another.  What is the problem?  She is telling the truth!

     Paul and Silas tolerate the girl for a while but then become frustrated and caste out the evil spirit.  I suspect we often think of evil as something in the extreme and that first potato chip, that first spoon of ice cream, that first kiss is only a “temptation” and we have the self-control for later.  So often we fail.  One drink leads to another, one bite to another, one peek to another, and one whatever leads to another.  The girl is telling the truth but her source of power is an evil spirit and she is not her own person.  She is controlled by evil to entice followers of her, not God, and to make profit for her owner.  She is a slave.  She is not free, making her own decisions and we only deceive ourselves when our decisions lead us further away fro God.  Subtly she is transforming Paul’s witnessing, his story of his spiritual journey, into an entertainment show to draw people and to get their money.  The point is not the value of sharing a testimony and blessing others but the power that is in control of the situation.  Paul casts out the spirit.

      Learning to recognize evil disguised as “an angel of light” offering to help, is a lesson we must learn as we grow in faith.  Perhaps it is like our mothers said, “All that glitters is not gold.”  Testing the spirits and recognizing when we need help to face temptation is a big lesson in spiritual growth.  May the Lord help you today to discern his presence in the encounters you have and may your testimony not be undermined by evil trying to take advantage of your truth.  Open our eyes Lord!

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