A few days later Felix and his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, sent for Paul and listened to him talk about a life of believing in Jesus Christ. As Paul continued to insist on right relations with God and his people, about a life of moral discipline and the coming Judgment, Felix felt things getting a little too close for comfort and dismissed him. “That’s enough for today. I’ll call you back when it’s convenient.” At the same time he was secretly hoping that Paul would offer him a substantial bribe. These conversations were repeated frequently. – Acts 24:24-26
For the past few months I had been feeling really bad about something. Someone really close to me wanted prayer, yet I didn’t want to pray for her. I know, you’re probably thinking, that’s pretty harsh, right? Let me explain.She is near and dear to my heart and although you would think we speak daily, she only called when she “needed prayer.” Which usually meant her usual break-up with a man that is no good for her at all. Something she clearly has known for some time now.So what do you do when you begin to feel used, worn out, and just drained? I had to pray! I would talk to my husband about how bad I felt. More importantly I talked to God. I told Him, “God, I’m sorry. I just don’t want to continue to pray for someone who isn’t looking to change her life.” It brings me to the story of Felix. In the Book of Acts, Felix was the governor of the region where Paul was ministering. Felix appeared to be interested in what Paul was telling him and it seemed as though he wanted to learn from Paul. But in reality, Felix was greedy, selfish and was only seeking to get money from Paul. (Acts. 24:26)I realize now that this is just another way the enemy tries to wear us down as Christians. These Felix-types are nothing but phonies. They come into our lives and ask for prayer and help from their current situation, but they never seem to grow from their mistakes. Satan will send people into our lives to drain us of everything we have and to wear us out, and the worst part is knowing that they have no intentions of changing. They’ll call you only when the going gets tough, and you will spend hours listening to them talk about their afflictions, but they don’t even want to get over them. They go on and on, rehearsing their problems, but they don’t even look forward to getting well or wanting to do better for themselves. Because like Felix, their motives are wrong. Their heart isn’t in the right place. The saddest part is that once they wear you out, they will start right back over with somebody else.I realized that I had to really start growing even more in my discernment about people, because the enemy enjoys playing on our love for God, and our love, and desire to help others. And as a Christian I would feel guilty telling someone, “You know what? I feel like you are using me. You don’t want my help! Just go do you, and when you decide that enough is enough and you are serious about my help, then give me a call.” Yeah right, I could never say that right? That wouldn’t be nice. That wouldn’t be Christ-like.
Guess what? Jesus would have done it! Just like He told the crippled man who had been lying by the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to become well?” (John. 5:6) The Amplified version adds, [Are you really in earnest about getting well?] The crippled man then responded to him saying, “Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me.”(v. 7) Jesus, didn’t boo hoo him and pity this man. Instead He told him: “Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!” (v.8) Jesus was basically saying, Look man, I’ll help you, but you need to do your part as well. Don’t expect to do the same thing and expect different results. We have to work together.
This situation had left me hurt, and maybe even a bit angry. I began to pray and ask God to help me sharpen my discernment so that I wouldn’t continue to allow myself to get entangled in the turbulent lives of others unless I am helping, because they are truly, and I mean truly seeking to change their life. I encourage the same for you.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am by no means implying that we should forsake patience. On the contrary, we need to be patient and long-suffering towards all of our brothers and sisters. However, if you read the story of Felix in its entirety, you will see that Felix and Paul continued to talk every day, with the same issues he had and after two years he was still unchanged.
At the same time he hoped to get money from Paul, for which reason he continued to send for him and was in his company and conversed with him often.
But when two years had gone by, Felix was succeeded in office by Porcius Festus; and wishing to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul still a prisoner in chains. Acts 24:26-27
So, you see that after continuing to send for Paul and taking up all of this man’s time, Felix just went off and left Paul in jail. All of that energy and time Paul had invested in Felix didn’t even do him any good anyways, because Felix never really had any intention of ever changing in the first place.So today, I want to encourage you, my sisters. Be careful for the “Felixes” in your life. Pray and ask God for discernment. Pour yourself out to only those that God lays on your heart to help. Pray and ask God how to handle those “certain” people that do come into your life to drain you and wear you out, so that you don’t invest significantly in that person’s life only to find again that it’s been a waste of your time. Pray and ask God to give you what I like to call “divine connections.” These are the people God sends our way that will be able to help us and vice versa. These are the sisters that will add to your life. They will pray for YOU. They will love on YOU. They will bombard Heaven on behalf of YOU! And you will do the same for them. Keep in mind that Jesus Christ has called us to help people, but He has by no means called us to waste our time! I pray that you all will be great stewards of all your resources in 2013. . . including your love and time! This year let’s release all the “Felixes” in our lives and prepare to receive the divine connections God has for us in the new year.
Do you have any “Felixes” in your life today?