Updated: May 16, 2021
But Peter said to him, “Your money perishes with you because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” // Acts 8:20-23
According to the dictionary, a breeding ground is an area in which growth occurs. I'm using this term as a metaphor for our hearts. Why? Because our hearts reveal our true natures and we must be intentional about cultivating them. I find that Acts chapter 8 gives us a good glimpse into how the motives of our hearts affect our everyday lives.
Why would Peter use the word "perish"?
We see in Acts chapter 8 that Peter rebukes Simon by saying “May your money perish with you”. What does it mean to perish? It means to expire, deteriorate, and decompose. However, in John 3:16 it says that as believers we won't perish but have everlasting life. So why would Peter tell Simon (a new believer) that he would perish? Because Simon's heart wasn't clean. Although Simon had been baptized and identified as a believer, his heart was in the same shape as it had been before. Being a believer is more than just saying that you believe, it's about having a true intention to live for God. It's not about a one-time acceptance, but surrendering your entire heart to Him. Everything we do is a result of what's in our hearts. Therefore, we must be intentional about cultivating clean hearts.
What are you valuing?
The fact that Simon was trying to buy gifts of the Spirit with cash shows that he placed a high value on money and equated it to the things of God. Be it God or money, it doesn't seem like Simon knew the difference. Somewhere along the line, Simon lost touch of what mattered, or maybe he never really knew. Either way, we need to guard our hearts so that corruption doesn't settle in. If we fail to protect our hearts from worldly influences, then we could also end up mixing up our values and confusing what's right and what's wrong. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts because God knows what's out there and how it could potentially damage us. Now, we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God, but the condition of our hearts can surely hinder how we connect with Him.
Repentance is a must!
Next, Apostle Peter tells Simon that his heart is unclean, however, instead of repenting Simon asks Peter to pray against the words that he has spoken. This goes to show that Simon's priorities are all wrong (yet again) not only did he value the crowds over submission. But he was also drawn to power, not having a fulfilling relationship with God. If you ask me, it doesn't seem like Simon had any reverence for God, but he did believe in his power and wanted some for himself. Simon believed in the power of prayer but not in the importance of repentance. He didn't follow God wholeheartedly, he acknowledged some attributes of Christianity but not all of them. However, if he had a heart that desired God, then he wouldn't have thought twice about serving Him. Repentance requires us to humble ourselves before God, and the idea that repentance isn't necessary is a sign of pride.
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It’s all about the motives!
Simon’s motives were influenced by his desire to be followed. When he was a sorcerer he had a bunch of people looking up/fearing him. He was a “somebody”, and he wanted to keep it that way no matter what. When he saw the Apostle performing miracles he wanted the gift so that he could be adored. His heart wasn't clean from the start and it led him to make some poor decisions. Our hearts are the driving forces for all of our decisions, so we have to be mindful and pray for clean hearts. Or else we will struggle and wonder why we continue to see the same negative results. So we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. and ask God to reveal what is in our hearts.
The importance of having a clean heart!
We must maintain clean hearts because everything that is hidden within our hearts is bound to be revealed at some point. As children of God who are destined to be lights in this dark place. How can we reflect who God is if our hearts are no different than those in the world? If we’re blending in, then we’re not doing a good job of being witnesses and leading people to God. We are called to be set apart, when people see us and hear the things we say, does it lead them closer to God? Our overall goal as Christians is to honor Him and having a clean heart does just that!
The Bible tells us that man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Nothing is hidden from His sight, however instead of turning us away based on the contents of our hearts. He calls us to Himself so that He can purify and cleanse us from within. Whatever is in your heart, be it hurt, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, pride. Etc. Believe that God will not only reveal it to you but heal/deliver you as well! Remember sis, a holy heart brings Him glory!
A prayer for a clean heart (David prayed this prayer in Psalm 51)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me, amen.
A prayer for salvation
Lord, I accept you into my heart, I pray that you make it clean and dwell inside of it. I desire to please and live for you all the days of my life, amen.
If you accepted Jesus as your Savior let us know! Welcome to the family : )