Event(s): The disciples pray for boldness
Today’s Text: Acts 4:23-37
Tomorrow’s Text: Acts 5:1-16
After this confrontation with the religious rulers, the disciples went straight to their fellow believers. They didn’t retaliate at the ones who had persecuted them. Instead, they gathered together to pray, worship and seek God for counsel so that they could respond in a way that brought Him glory.
In cases where we must disobey man in order to be faithful to God, we must still maintain integrity and operate according to the characteristics of the Kingdom. Never is it okay to take on a rebellious spirit or to start lashing out and reviling people – especially towards those in positions of authority and especially in the name of God. In cases where we may be facing challenges like this, we must move forward with even greater wisdom and faith. In today’s passage, we basically see the importance of community and why we must surround ourselves – not with people who will respond the way the rest of the world would –but with people who are full of wisdom and will seek God’s response with us.
Acts 4:24 “Lord, You are God who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them” When problems seem big, one of the best things we can do (before jumping to solutions) is focus on the greatness of God –how much bigger He is than anything we could ever face. This puts any challenge right back into perspective and keeps it under the submission of God’s rule.
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “magnify the Lord”, that’s essentially what this means. Not that we have the ability to make God any bigger. That’s impossible. Instead, we’re making sure that His greatness is the filter, or the lens, through which we see all else.
Acts 4:29 “that with all boldness they may speak Your word” The disciples didn’t ask for the persecution to be removed, they asked for boldness to operate in it. This is how we grow in strength. In the same way resistance training works to strengthen us in the physical, our “spiritual muscles” build as we learn to push forward in opposition.
Acts 4:31 “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” The disciples had been filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. But in reading this verse, we understand that being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event. It’s a lifestyle.
The word “boldness” comes from the Greek word “parrhesia” and means unreserved utterance, freedom of speech, candor, cheerful courage and is the opposite of cowardice, timidity or fear. And here in this passage, it denotes a divine enablement that comes to ordinary and unprofessional people exhibiting spiritual power and authority. It also refers to a clear presentation of the gospel without being ambiguous or unintelligible. Parrhesia is not a human quality but a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. –The New Spirit Filled Life Bible
Peter and John shared their struggle with the community they were in. And because they involved others, the entire rest of the community also benefited when God answered. They all experienced this divine encounter as the place shook with God’s presence. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And they all spoke with boldness.
So often our tendency can be to hold on to our struggles and war through them silently. Many times this is due to past hurts or negative experiences, and we simply don’t know who we can trust. But God created us to be in community and the truth is, we simply cannot fulfill the call of God on our lives, nor can we operate in the ACTS we saw the disciples operate in if we do life alone.
Who are you in community with? Who are your go-to people when life throws you a curve ball and you need someone who will pray and earnestly seek God with you? Are there some gaps there that need to be filled?
In the book Safe People, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend define a person of safe character as someone who:
- Draws me closer to God
- Draws me closer to others
- Helps me become the person God created me to be
Today, take some time to think about who is in your corner. Do you have people like this surrounding you on every side? If so, thank God for them. If not, maybe it’s time to reach out and make some new relationships. And if you happen to be warring through a challenge in silence, reach out to someone you can trust.