By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
There have been times in my life in which I thought I was pretty great.
And I usually figure out pretty quick that I’m not as great as I thought I was.
It’s when I start to get a bit prideful about something that I tend to trip and fall or make a mistake. I see it as God’s way of keeping me humble.
This is revealed in Scripture. In fact, there’s a pretty cut and dry example.
It’s about the famous magician Simon the Great. Trust me, it’s in the Bible.
“Now a certain man named Simon had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he was someone great” (Acts 8:9)
See, Simon thought he was pretty special. He was performing magic and amazing crowds. With each trick, I imagine his head was getting bigger and bigger.
“All of them, from the least to the greatest, listened to him eagerly, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great’” (Acts 8:10).
Simon was leading people to believe that God had given him the power of Greatness. He claimed that the reason he was able to astound and bewilder others with his magic was because God had chosen to make him Great.
I don’t believe God will ever give you a reason to be prideful. God doesn’t give you a gift so that you can receive praise and He doesn’t put you in the position to be pretentious. God desires humility. The only reason He graces you with a gift is because it should be used for His glory, not yours.
Many times God will use us to work in powerful ways for His Kingdom. Unfortunately, when He does, the Enemy is really good at tempting us to turn the focus inward and seeing ourselves as Great. It’s all too easy to mistake God’s work through us as our work. We take credit for what is happening. And it’s really easy to accept other’s praise rather than point the praise back to God.
But Simon the Great found the answer to His pride.
“But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed. After being baptized, he stayed constantly with Philip and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place” (Acts 8:12-13).
I love how this story ends. It began with a prideful, arrogant magician named Simon the Great. But then he encounters the Gospel told by Philip. He becomes a believer, is baptized, and then follows Philip around. The best part is the last few words:
Simon was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place.
Simon used to be the one amazing others. He used to be a great magician who could easily fool the eye and trick the sense. He found great pride in that fact. But even he is humbled in the presence of a wonder-working God.
So often, the cure for our prideful nature is getting into the presence of God. It’s rediscovering the Spirit’s activity in our world and in our life. It is realizing that much of what we do isn’t of our power, but God’s.
Humility comes by realizing that we aren’t that Great.
God is Greater and He is on the move.