evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are
you?” (Acts 19:15)
is no secondhand spirituality. No one else can develop Christian maturity on
your behalf. A strong Christian heritage is an asset, but it cannot take the
place of your own vibrant, growing relationship with Christ.
had a powerful walk with God. God used him so mightily that extraordinary
miracles occurred through his life. Cloths that touched Paul were taken to the
sick, and the sick were healed (Acts 19:10–12). Evil spirits were cast out.
Paul’s preaching and teaching were instrumental in building a strong church in
Ephesus. Paul’s ministry was so impressive, in fact, that others tried to
sons of the chief priest, Sceva, attempted to cast out demons the way Paul did.
They confronted an evil spirit and attempted to exorcise it “by the Jesus whom
Paul preaches.” These men were trying to use a spiritual power that Paul had
acquired after years of walking closely with his Lord. They could imitate
Paul’s words, but they could not duplicate the power that was his through his
personal relationship with God. The evil spirit retorted, “Jesus I know, and
Paul I know, but who are you?” The demon then viciously attacked them and
humiliated them. The evil spirits were fearfully aware of Jesus (James 2:19);
they were familiar with Paul’s influence over the powers of darkness. But the
demons had no knowledge of the seven sons of Sceva.
can duplicate the words and deeds of a spiritually mature Christian, but you
cannot inherit his or her walk with God. Christian maturity takes effort; it comes
over time. If you ignore the place of prayer and if you neglect your
relationship with Christ, you will not grow in your faith. Imitating the faith
of others will not give you victory. Only as you nurture your own relationship
with Jesus will your life be filled with spiritual maturity and power.