Todays ACTivate thoughts are from ACTS chapter 21, by Graeme Wright, our awesome Hammersmith kids pastor!
Spiritual Living has the FAITH FACTOR!
After living in London for 15 years there have been many times where fear has crept in and tried to extinguish my Faith. How will people react when I offer to pray for them? Lord you have called me to move into the city, but can I afford to live here?
Fear is always around trying to snuff out our Faith. In Acts 21, we see how Paul’s relentless Faith and Obedience to Christ keeps him sailing on to overcome the Fear Factor. Paul is on a mission to reach Jerusalem out of obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit!
Acts 20v22 “And now,compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
Paul had been warned by the Holy Spirit that even though he was to go to Jerusalem, he would face prison and hardships. Not only that, but en-route to Jerusalem Paul is encouraged by believers, through the Holy Spirit, NOT to go to Jerusalem.
v 4… Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
The Fear or Faith challenge comes up again in verse 10-11,
After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
It is here that the believers plead with Paul, not to go to Jerusalem. Check out Paul’s response to them as described in the Message.
v13… You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?”
Was Paul afraid? Who wouldn’t be? With Fear knocking at every door their seemed to be something burning in Paul that caused his FAITH to totally extinguish his FEAR. Paul understood that obedience to Jesus is far greater than himself. Now that is spiritual living!
Paul reaches Jerusalem and all the warnings of arrest and hardship become a reality. Despite the persecution he faced in Jerusalem he still managed to preach to the very crowd that tried to kill him. There are so many opportunities where Paul could have given in to fear but through his Faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit he was able to press on and overcome Fear with Faith.
I pray that, today, we will have the power to do the same.