Text: Acts 16:11-24 | Listen to Message
We all need grace
On the surface, people’s lives are as different from one another as night and day – and as different from one another as the two women Luke highlights in this section of Scripture. The first is a devoutly religious and successful businesswoman who’s made a small fortune selling beautiful things to beautiful people. The second, at the opposite end of the socio-religious spectrum, is a demon-possessed, exploited slave girl who’s been stripped of her dignity and name. But underneath their radically different situations in life, are they really so different?
Are we really so different?
Let’s start with the fact that the slave girl was controlled and exploited by her masters. Okay, but let’s be honest. Aren’t we all controlled by something – something that we try to use to our advantage, only to see it turn the tables on us and use us for its advantage? Aren’t we all exploited by something that over-promises and under-delivers, leaving us humiliated, empty, and stripped of our God-given dignity?
Sure, your master isn’t a literal demon. It wears a more socially-acceptable name – a name like money, power, reputation, comfort, or success. But in moments of clarity, you can see that your master has a stronger grip on you than you have on it. It’s not giving you the life it promised; it’s sucking the life out of you. And it probably feels like you can’t break that master’s power over you no matter what you try.
You need grace – the free and unmerited kindness of God. You need Him to take the initiative to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Quite frankly, you need Jesus to take a wrecking ball to those phony, exploitive masters and send them packing once and for all. And you need something more: you need to trust Jesus’ lordship over your life – a master who will actually be for you, not against you.
Rebecca Pippert writes in Out of The Saltshaker:
Jesus’ ownership of our lives is not a control that manipulates us or takes away our dignity. He governs our lives…by being who he is without compromise and by insisting we become all that we are meant to be….He is the only one in the universe who can control us without destroying us.
Pause right now and ask God to show you what your masters are. Then ask Him to expel those things from your life, replacing them with the loving leadership of Christ.