Monday, January 28

Fearless obedience

Scripture: Exodus 21-22, Psalm 12, Acts 4

Acts 4:29-20 “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”  

Observation

Peter and John were arrested after healing a crippled man.  They fearlessly declared the gospel to the leaders and officials who arrested them.  The officials were at a loss: “What shall we do with these men?”  They couldn’t deny the miracle, and had no basis to punish Peter and John, but didn’t want them spreading the message of Jesus.  So they commanded them not to “speak or teach in the name of Jesus” and threatened them (presumably with arrest and physical harm).  Peter and John respond with a classic line: “God told us to speak.  You told us not to speak.  Who do you think we should obey?” 😄

Peter and John return to a church gathering and report what happened.  The church’s response?  Prayer.  But not the prayer you’d expect.  You’d think they would cry to the Lord for protection.  “Watch out for us.  Keep us safe from those who threaten us.”  Instead, they ask the Lord to notice the threats and then give them courage to speak anyway—with confidence or boldness!

Application

What a prayer!  Too many of our prayers are safety prayers!  God wants to change the world while we want to play it safe.  The world isn’t changed by those who play it safe, but by those who risk, by the fearless and the bold, by those who are willing to obey God no matter the cost!  

I was with a friend today who challenged me by saying that we are willing to take a stand until sacrifice is required of us, then we back off to a safe place.  These early Christians didn’t worry about being safe—they wanted to do what God said, even when sacrifice was required.  And it was.  

In the next chapter (Acts 5), the apostles were boldly preaching Jesus and were arrested and beaten for it.  Their response was not to stop preaching, but to rejoice that they were considered worthy of suffering for Jesus!  That’s how you change the world!  Fearless obedience to God!

Prayer: Lord, forgive us our timidity and our play-it-safe attitudes.  Instead, fill us with Your Spirit who enables fearless obedience to God.