2 Kings 2.9 And it came to pass, when they had gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
Acts 8.18-23 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said to 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 thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
A popular credit card commercial asks the question, “What’s in your wallet?”. God does not need to ask such a question. He knows what is in our hearts. As we see in our passages this morning, it is possible for two people to be asking for a very sacred thing from God for entirely different reasons. Elisha sought a double portion of the spirit that rested upon Elijah for the purpose of glorifying God. Simon was envious of what God gave Phillip and desired the same power of the Spirit to promote himself. We must be constantly going before the Lord, asking Him to purify our hearts and motives, for at times we can be like Simon.
Any desire for the power or gifts of God for personal promotion and glory is the spirit of Simon. It is wicked. It is iniquity. In our flesh there dwells envy, jealousy and the desire to be known as a deeply anointed, spiritual person. We need to acknowledge this as a fact, for it is the nature of our flesh. This spirit is the cause of rivalry, competition and even envy in the body of Christ. It frowns when others are blessed or used by God. It needs to be confessed and repented of, for it grieves God’s Spirit from moving in our midst. What helps us to handle this fleshly attitude is the realization that we can receive nothing, except it be given us from above. Thus, to be envious or jealous of another brother or sister’s gifts, or another church, is to be questioning God.