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. Acts 16:16-18
Paul and his friend Silas are sharing the Good News in the Roman colony of Philippi, but are hindered by the interruption of the spirit-possessed slave. What she is shouting is obviously true, but it is not how God intends the message to be brought there, and Paul casts the spirit out.
We have read stories of Jesus casting out demons (Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8), and now Paul as a baptized believer does the same. It is interesting to note that in all these encounters the demons recognize and testify to the truth of Christ. They are afraid because they know the final outcome will be the victory of Jesus. James 2:19 tells us “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
The point is that evil exists and we must never listen, even when it speaks the truth because it will eventually turn us against God! The truth of Christ must be shared by His loving followers, not by demons. That is why Jesus silenced them, and calls us away from their influence. His sacrifice for our salvation and His promise to be with us always are all the assurance we need.
Loving Lord, we have been taught by Your truth and saved by Your blood. Help us to be strong in faith and resist the evil that opposes us, bringing our brothers and sisters back into connection with You. Amen.
It’s interesting, because evil never speaks truth to honor the truth or to bring people into the light. Rather evil speaks truth to discredit or demean it. The value of received truth can be affected by its source or context.