Gods and Kings
But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. Acts 8:9
In the news lately, I’ve read stories about those in positions of significant power who fall victim to their own hubris. Believing they can get away with anything, they commit whatever evil they want. I’m always surprised when it happens. How could you be so dumb and horrible? I shouldn’t be shocked though. This is human nature and I’ve been there.
As a physician, I may not have said it, but I acted as though I could do whatever I wanted. Though I knew it was wrong, I felt I deserved my pills because I was saving lives in the ER. If I got caught, I believed I was powerful enough that I wouldn’t face consequences like others.
We may not admit it out loud, but most of us desire to be gods and kings. We want the world to run according to our vision and we’d prefer it to revolve around us. If we could bend others to our will, we would. We want money, sex, status, power, and toys and if we could get away with it, we’d take those things from others. Even virtuous individuals, when given enough power, become corrupted by the ability to do whatever they want.
In today’s passage, the apostle Philip encountered Simon, a magician, who used his arts to point everyone to his own greatness. He was a big deal and he wanted everyone to know it. In reading the about him, I find myself annoyed. I know people like that – horrible egomaniacs, always trying to elevate themselves. I can’t stand those people. The pride in me is offended by the pride in them.
This is our greatest flaw of course – that we seek to follow our way above God’s. We may not consciously realize it, but in pursuing our own path, we make ourselves out to be gods. This was Lucifer’s sin and now it’s our sin.
The problem is that the position of God is already filled, and in attempting to supplant him, we cause ourselves profound pain. Because we’re so desperately flawed, we make terrible gods and kings. If we wish to abandon our misery, we must realize that our way will never lead to the life for which we were made. Daily now, we must follow the one God instead of trying to make ourselves out to be gods.