“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4: 29-31
Peter and John had just returned from being interrogated by the religious leaders in Jerusalem. They had been threatened and ordered to stop speaking any more about Jesus. Peter and John tell their friends about what has just happened and they all begin to pray. They spend time asking God for boldness, for confidence to keep telling people about the hope Jesus brings, for Jesus to bring healing and miracles so His name can be made great in their land. And God answers their prayer. The room they are in physically shakes and they are all filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to tell others about God with boldness.
What is your response in the face of hardship or opposition? How do we handle ourselves when life isn’t as comfortable as we would like? I know for me when things get rough, I often just want things back the way they were. I begin to whine about how great it “used to be” and how terrible my life is now. I remind God of all the ways it was better before and demand He changes things back to the way my life used to be.
But I am challenged by the words above. Those early believers were facing some pretty serious threats. In the end most of them were even killed because they believed in Jesus! But in the face of opposition they didn’t throw a fit, they didn’t whine about how things used to be. They prayed for boldness. They asked God to come in a new and powerful way and reveal Himself to their community in His way. They even ask for God’s healing to come. This part convicts me the most. How often do I wish pain and revenge on those who oppose me? But they declare Jesus’ healing over the situation. They want to see God come and redeem the situation and while He extends His hand to heal, grant them boldness on top of it. They want to see boldness as they share their story and healing come to people through it!
Who is your opposition this week? Maybe its a friend or a spouse or a person in authority over you. Maybe its a co-worker, or a boss who drives you crazy. Let the Holy Spirit reveal any ways you have been fighting back. Let Him show you how you have been complaining or even just begging for your own comfort back. Lay those prayers down at His feet. Begin to pray a new kind of prayer, a prayer for boldness. Ask the Holy Spirit for boldness and courage as you share your faith story with those around you. Let Him change your heart. And then go one step further. Pray for healing. Pray for God’s healing hand to extend out, to bring miracles and hope where there is none. Begin to intercede for those “difficult” people in your life. Pray for healing AND boldness, pray for redemption AND courage. And then get ready for God to pour out His Holy Spirit as you walk in obedience.
Diving In is our online mid-week devotional. It jumps into the message from Sunday and takes you a little deeper. Take a moment to slow down from your busy day, and hear from the Holy Spirit. We re-post every Wednesday. You can follow along by clicking the +Follow button in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Diving In is written by Erika Thornton (Pastor Jonathan’s wife). Erika loves helping other people experience who they are in Christ and helping them pursue His plans for them. In her free time she loves playing with her five kids and painting.