Paul does not just go about willy-nilly casting out demons. He does not do what he does in a vacuum or divorced from a specific context. And here, he (though not rashly, but after many days) finally rejects the unsought-for endorsement of a demon-possessed woman.
The lesson is a powerful one: We do not seek the World’s acclaim.
Paul not only rejects the slave girl’s declarations, he takes positive steps to prevent it. How different from today when we seek the World’s accolades as though they give us legitimacy. How often we hang much on the possible conversion of a movie actor or rockstar or take a positive schmooze or nod from some other public figure as adding something to the testimony of Christ. We want so badly to be legitimized in the World’s eyes. And that day will come – but it is not now. We are chasing fool’s gold in courting it.
Not so Paul. The testimony of evil spirits is not seen as a positive, but as an act of opposition which muddies the waters making it impossible to make right distinctions between what is authentically from God, and what is not.
Beware when you find your own heart leaping when some sports figure makes a generic reference to thanking “god”. Most often, that god isn’t even defined. And when He is – is there a lifestyle which can be observed that harmonizes with said profession? That is not where Christians gain their assurance in the face of the World. We gain it from the Word and the promises of God contained in it. A celebrity making a positive statement about God or Christianity doesn’t somehow add to the cause of Christ or the Gospel. It is the Gospel that adds to wicked us. We don’t validate it – IT validates us. No matter how famous, how accomplished, how brilliant, wealthy or gifted. We are but brittle jars of clay. The treasure – is Christ.
We add nothing to Him. He adds everything, to us.