Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
It never ceases to amaze me how our personal events are met with such timely wisdom when we are regularly meeting with God every morning. It is often so easy to listen to our flesh say, “Sleep in…” “Do it another day…”. But when we draw a line in the sand and tell ourselves, ‘No’, we will get up, we will meet with God, He fulfills His promise;
James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
God’s recipe for close fellowship with Himself is not mysterious, hard or out of the reach of normal man. It is the abandoning of our way, our will and our wants to desire His way, His will and do that which pleases Him. God showed me through reading in the book of Acts today, that very truth.
The disciples had gone through the long agony of seeing Jesus crucified, buried and then witnessed the resurrected Christ. They saw him bodily rise up into the heavens. They heard and obeyed his command;
Luke 24:49 “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
And tarry they did. As they were in that upper room, their hearts were knit together in the same desire – to fully, wholly and totally follow the command Jesus had given them. They prayed. They ate and fasted together. They removed all other distractions. They didn’t go to their homes with the intent of reconvening. They were set solely on doing what the risen Savior wanted. Nothing else mattered.
When they did, God met with them in a wonderful, miraculous and powerful way. Never has the Holy Spirit made His presence known and not since that time has it been recorded that the presence of the Holy Spirit with man came as cloven tongues of fire upon the ones receiving Him. In that moment, they all knew as the Spirit within them bore witness to the truth.
When confronted by the religious leaders of the day when an uproar was made over the lame man healed in the temple, they testified;
Acts 4:20 “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
But their testifying came at a price. The great teacher Gamaliel, admonished them not to deal too harshly with these men because if this work be of men – it will come to nought and if this work be of God; there is no way we will be able to resist it.
At the core of this whole scene is some unlearned and ignorant men who seemingly stood up to the principalities and power of their day. God specifically endued them with power to stand up to them because in their hearts, they had drawn a line that they would not cross.
It is one thing to know ABOUT Jesus. It is wholly and totally another to KNOW Jesus. Having knowledge about Him, I can run all I know through the filter of what I believe; what I choose to accept, with what and with whom I will associate myself.
But when Jesus has full possession of your body, souls and spirit, He can move you to do things you and I never thought possible. When fear comes about being a witness for him, we have a line we must draw – will I risk what people think of me to tell them about an eternal, life-changing decision they are going to face, or will I cower to Satan’s attack saying; “Let someone else do it”, “It’s not your ‘ministry'”, You’re not worthy to tell others”… and such things as to hinder the gospel to go forth as God intended.
I’ve been challenged today to set aside the ‘busy-ness’ of today and draw a line for daily living as to how I will be a witness. We all have justified reasons as to why we don’t or won’t be a witness. But think about this: You and I are children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He has placed within us His Holy Spirit. We are sealed unto the day of redemption.
We are promised Heaven – so my future is secure. We are promised His eternal presence here – so there is nothing present that He and I cannot handle. With sins forgiven, my past is erased. My own fear is rooted in the pride of my heart – ‘What will people think of ME?’ In that selfish, self-absorbed thought, we fail to recognize that we are accepted by the Creator of the universe –
Psalm 118:6 “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
As things wax worse and worse in this world, we cannot give in to apathy, fatalistic thinking or immerse ourselves in amusements. Knowing that I will see my Savior face to face, I must truly draw a line in my heart to not to give into those things that keep me from being a Spirit-filled witness every day.
Pray today, that God would help to remove the fear, the hesitation, the doubt and laziness that keep us from speaking up for Him to those closest to us. Ask God to help draw a line in our heart to stay convicted about the command to be a witness for Him today.
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”