This girl 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 troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!"
Thoughts for Today:Previously in verse 16, we learned the girl from our passage today was "a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future." So why did Paul want the spirit to come out of her? Wasn't the spirit telling the truth? "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." Paul was troubled because the medium or the instrument used was all wrong.
A pastor I know was once asked hypothetically, "If you had the opportunity to give your testimony in Playboy magazine, would you do it?" The pastor answered, "No, because I would not want this ministry to be advertised in something that is so contrary to the message of Jesus Christ." That, my friends, is the right answer to the question that confuses so many Christians today: "How far should I go to reach the unsaved?" The answer of course is only so far as to not compromise the message of Jesus. When we allow a particular medium (person, group, website, magazine, etc) to communicate our message, we are tacitly endorsing the instrument. Paul knew this and it troubled him because whatever credibility or believability the spirit borrowed from him could be used ultimately for the destruction of the listener.
So if Paul didn't trust the motivation of the spirit inside the girl, why did he wait so long ("she kept this up for many days") to call it out? We don't know for sure, but my best guess is it took time before he realized the benefit of the spirit's words was far less than the risk of increasing the spirit's credibility: "Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, 'In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!'"
Questions to Ponder:Have you ever been in a situation like Paul's before, where something seems okay but the longer it goes on the more troubled you become with it? If you feel that way right now, take a long hard look at whatever is causing you concern and ask, "Is this activity consistent with the message of Jesus Christ?" Believe it or not this is a "Yes" or "No" answer. There is no maybe allowed. What is your answer? What spirit will you "call out"?