In preparation for my trip to Greece and Turkey next month, I’m studying stories of healing that occurred in the places we’ll be visiting. With the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul and his companions performed some miracles in addition to teaching and preaching.
In Acts 16:16-18, Luke writes that Paul encounters a nameless slave girl in Philippi who runs a profitable fortune-telling business:
“Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”
It is interesting that instead of being overwhelmed with awe, the owners of the slave girl respond by dragging Paul and Silas before the authorities on charges of disturbing the peace. With the demon gone, she could no longer predict the future and make money for her master. Obviously more concerned about their economic welfare than the spiritual welfare of the slave girl, the owners demonstrate how the ministry of liberation can run contrary to some business practices. Paul liberated the slave girl from human exploitation by removing the demon from her. Her persistence in following them for days paid off; she was free.
The owners were shackled to their love of money. Paul and Silas weren’t on a mission to reform economic and political inequities, but instead they were called by Jesus to liberate human beings through preaching, teaching and healing.
I’m examining my own life to see where I am shackled and worshiping the wrong god. It is only when I care more how God’s children are treated than about my own worldly success that I can be liberated from the demons in my own life.