Read Acts 8:9-25
When Simon saw that the apostles by merely laying on hands conferred the Spirit, he pulled out his money, excited, and said, “Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that! How much do you want? Name your price!” Peter said, “To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that’s unthinkable—trying to buy God’s gift! You’ll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways—and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you; you reek with money-lust.” (Acts 8:18-23 MSG)
Old habits die hard.
In this text Simon ‘the great wizard” had become a follower of Jesus. He recognized his power as mere magic tricks and illusion, believed and was baptized. But then, when the Apostles came and conferred the Holy Spirit on the people, his former lust for power welled up to the surface and he tried to buy the power from them. “To hell with your money… I can see this is an old habit with you.” Old habits die hard. Simon didn’t yet realize that following Jesus was not about using God’s power for personal gain… and God’s power is not for sale. Simon had an appetite for power and the only way to subvert that appetite was to learn to live a generous life. He had to form a new habit… to lead with generosity. The only way to learn this habit was to repent (turn away from the old way and turn TO God) and believe that God would provide. Forming this new habit of repentance and belief would help him live into his new identity as a follower of Jesus.
One of the things I have experienced in discipling others is often, one of the first steps is to help them establish a consistent, intentional practice of reading scripture and prayer. If discipling someone is largely about helping people listen to and respond to God’s prompting, then it is important to implement the primary vehicles God designed for listening. They need to develop a habit of scripture and prayer so it becomes as essential as breathing. It is often difficult to get started, but once the habit is formed and becomes “old”, old habits die hard.
Are there old habits that you need to break? New habits you need to form?