To some, it seemed like such a waste. Others looked on – shocked and surprised. They had seen the towering blaze and smelled the smoke from the huge bonfire. Mental calculators were clicking as people closely watched the bonfire grow. Another former magician arrives with his box of books and throws his favoured belongings, one by one, into the flames.  Witches and psychics arrive and add some more fuel to the fire.

Ephesus seemed to be a publishing hub for written spells and incantations. And there was good money in it. The dark publications were in high demand

Finally, someone estimates that the books and materials burned in the Ephesus Bonfire were worth 50,000 pieces of silver. That’s no small chunk of change. Newsworthy indeed!

Can imagine the headlines the next day: Former Witches, Magicians, Necromancers, and Psychics Abandon Their Trade and Embrace Jesus Christ.

Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19:18-20

It’s one thing for me to say that I am a Christian or that I love the Lord. But the real proof to those who know me is the change in my life.

What I post online, what I share, what I like, and even the attitudes I display – should be worlds apart from the profile of the average person online.

These people in Ephesus made their living off their magic tricks and dark, demonic practices. Many of them had become wealthy through their involvement with the occult. But now Christ had changed their lives. A radical transformation occurred. A 180 degree turn in their lives. New desires and new behaviours. The fruit of repentance. (Matthew 3:8)

Publicly, the new converts demonstrated that, at any cost, they were abandoning their past – even if it meant a collective loss of 50,000 pieces of silver.  Profit was no longer their bottom line. They resigned from the Magicians’ Guild. They turned a corner on their past. Christ was now the center of their lives. Pleasing Him was their daily driving force. Their new bottom line was:

Does this honour and please Christ? If not, burn it. Get it out of our lives.

Can you think of anything in your life that you need to throw into a bonfire? These new Christians in Ephesus were not even willing to discard their past by selling it. They didn’t want anyone else to be contaminated by the things they once enjoyed on the road to Hell.

But someone argues: “You don’t understand how much a part of my life that music was, or those movies were or those tarot cards were. They were almost an obsession with me before I was saved. So, I find it really hard to put those things out of my life. I’ll hang unto them for sentimental reasons and, once in a while, it probably wouldn’t do me much harm if I revisited my past.”

The single greatest contribution I can make to the spread of the Gospel is to abandon completely my sins and pleasures and habits of the past and to focus on doing only those things that please Christ and that magnify His Name.

It’s an old question to prod our complacency as believers but here it is anyway:

“If I was charged for being a Christian, would the prosecution present sufficient evidence to convict me – beyond a reasonable doubt?”

Can you think of anything in your life you should throw into a bonfire? Any thing or any group or any practice from which you need to distance yourself if you want to have a robust testimony for Christ? Think.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today,

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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