"Many of those who believed came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly " (Acts 19: 18).

"GIVE IT UP"

When sorcerers were converted to Christianity, they gave up their sinful practices according to Luke. To demonstrate their true intentions, they burned their "files" which contained the instructions for all their sorceries. The value of these files amounted to $6 million in today's money.

I don't know about others, but I'm very much impressed with "demonstrations" of discipleship. One can verbalize all day long about how much he loves Jesus, but until I see his commitment become real and active I may have my doubts. We need to see more conversions like the sorcerers of Paul's day.

The magicians of Acts 19 gave up their lucrative tricks and potions. Those of us who claim to love Jesus just may have to prove it by giving up things that were formerly important to us. Jesus said, "If you love me, do what I say." Some of his sayings demand lives of dedication and abstinence.

Admittedly, I've been soft with some converts who suggested it would be hard to give up certain things. I've been told how tough it is to quit smoking, drinking, chewing and cursing. One man even told me that he would think seriously about "cutting down" on his infidelity. How absurd!

Hey! Something ain't right with this kind of "commitment"! When we put Christ on we put Satan off. It's as simple as that. It surely wasn't any easier for those sorcerers to immediately give up their livelihoods for Christ than it is for some of us to give up our pet sins ... cold turkey.

It's time we quit being so weak - so uncommitted. Show me your discipleship, don't tell me (1 John 3:18). Jesus demands that we give up sinning if we are to be his disciples (1 John 3:9). If our lifestyles aren't any different than those in the world (and the institutional church is looking more and more like the world every day), then we really have nothing significant to offer lost humanity. - Steven Clark Goad