Misconceptions - March Edition
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money. Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. (Acts 8:18-20)
One morning I was moving around in the house doing what come naturally, when the word “misconception” came to my mind. It continued to rest on my mind so heavy that I stopped and looked up the meaning. By this time, I knew the Lord wanted to get my attention.
I would like to define the word “misconception.” Misconception is a conclusion that’s wrong because it’s based on faulty thinking or facts that are wrong. What is faulty thinking? It is ways in which our minds can deceive us, making us believe something is true when it is not. It usually is a result from incorrect thinking or flawed understanding. Synonyms: delusion, error, mistaken belief, wrong idea, misunderstanding, inaccuracy, untruth, delusion, oversight, and deceit... just to name a few.
After I understood the meaning, I began to pray and ask the Lord to search my heart and make me aware of any misconceptions that I may have about Him, people, or things in general. The conversation went on for a while because I really wanted to know why this particular word came to my mind.
Have you ever experienced seeing a person for the first time and summed them up the wrong way because of incorrect thinking? To your surprise, when you got to know them, they were altogether different from your first impression. Simply put, because of your faulty thinking, it was a misconception. That’s why we must be very careful of how we form our opinions of others.
Not only of how we form our opinions of people, but we must also be careful of how we form ideas about plans and things in general. We are faced with different challenges every day. Therefore, we can’t afford to make quick and hasty decisions. Get all the facts, analyze the situation, because the wrong information can lead us to the point of misconception.
The scriptural text is taken from a very interesting story in the Bible that expresses how misconception can have a very negative reaction in the lives of people. The story begins with Phillip going down to the city of Samaria preaching Christ to the people. The people, with one accord, gave heed unto the words he spoke. The Lord performed many miracles through Phillip’s preaching; including casting unclean spirits out of those possessed. Many that were lame were healed also. There was great joy in that city.
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one. To whom they all gave heed from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
Their minds were bewitched; therefore, they had a misconception of who Simon really was. The scene changes when they believed Phillip’s preaching concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ. They were baptized, both men and women. No more misconception about the power of God.
Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Phillip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which was done. If you noticed in this verse, he was overwhelmed by the miracles and signs.
As the story goes on, Peter and John were sent from Jerusalem to Samaria because the Holy Ghost was not yet fallen upon the people. They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (water baptism). When they laid their hands on them, they received the Holy Ghost. When Simon saw this, that same old spirit of control rose up in him. He offered Peter and John money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. This is a good example of how dangerous misconceptions can be. He thought money could buy him the power of God.
That might be considered erroneous thinking in today’s society, but just think how many people yet believe money can buy them anything they want. Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
This was a very bad situation to be in. But it can also be a lesson to each of us to not get caught in believing the wrong thing about experiencing the power of God. God uses those who will humbly submit their lives totally to Him and say yes to His will. He is of no respecter of persons. It’s a whosoever will come. No amount of money will buy prestige with God! Don’t get the wrong conception!
Misconception in Worship
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 1:8). Here Jesus uses a quote from Isaiah 29:13 charging the Pharisees with setting aside God’s Word by their traditions. Jesus dismisses their worship because their hearts were not aligned with their lips. For Jesus, this worship amounts to zero. That is what “vain” means. “In vain do they worship me.” It is zero if there is no heart dimension to it. Living faith and true worship requires that the mouth and the heart be together to avoid hypocrisy. If we fail to worship any other way, it’s misconception. The true worshipper must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
So, we can do as many good deeds as we want, attend as many church services as we want, and still never truly worship if it is all external and nothing is happening in our hearts toward God. All true worship is in essence a matter of the heart.
What is worship? Worship is an extreme form of love — it's a type of unquestioning devotion. If we worship God, then we love God so much that we don't question His ability or love for us. True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things.”
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Worshiping in the spirit, and truth, depends on a right mental grasp of the way God really is, “truth”. So true worship is based on a right understanding of God’s nature, and it is a right valuing of God’s worth.
In conclusion, it’s so important that we don’t have a misconception of who God really is and our relationship with Him, others, and things in general.