The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of today's events. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it." After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
Thoughts for Today:Here's a news flash for you, according to a Swiss and German research team's study concluded in 2007 they found, "The fear of being punished makes people less likely to violate social norms." In other words, the threat of punishment can deter bad behavior. Chances are, you don't find this research to be all that enlightening. From our passage today we read about a city clerk who, two thousand years ago, applied this same principle -- "You better cool it, or you're going to get into really big trouble." Why do we sometimes need the threat of a significant consequence to get our attention and make us change direction?
The Bible tells us (which most of you could quote from memory), "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)." The Ephesians knew if they didn't disperse, they were in danger of being charged with rioting and possibly would go to prison (or worse). That would be their consequence. We all know what consequence sin brings -- separation from God. The question is: How significant does the consequence need to be to bring about change?
Questions to Ponder:As you read today's devotion, in what area of your life do you face a possible consequence, but for some reason have not been able to motivate yourself to change? Is it in your marriage, child rearing, friendships, alcohol consumption, foul language, or something else? I have a bit of a weight problem, so I asked God to take away my desire to overeat -- He told me to "turn to Him and away from my sin." In other words, the first two steps were mine. The second half of James 4:7 tells us, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." It's the first part of that verse that causes us most of the trouble: "Submit yourselves to God." One of the most important things to realize in our Christian walk is in order to draw upon God's awesome power, we must first be submitted to Him completely; and then we are to flee from -- separate ourselves from the thing (sin) that is causing the problem. It requires commitment and effort not talk. How committed are you? What is your first step?