"...they had been with Jesus"
After Lent and my study of Isaiah I decided I wanted to jump into Acts. I've been interested to learn more about the early church. I wanted to study how they went on after Jesus left them.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my Instagram Story where I gave a quick thought on Acts 4:13. It says, "When they (talking about the Jewish leadership here) observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus." I mentioned in my Story that I loved that verse because it didn't matter that these men didn't have all the "credentials," it was obvious they had been with Jesus. And because they had been with Jesus they were courageous and spoke with boldness and power.
Yesterday, our pastor gave an amazing sermon in which he talked about how Christ's power is bigger than our fears. The gist of his message was that "courage rules when we are close to God and fear rules when we are distant from God." He taught mainly from John 18:7-25, but he also mentioned Acts 4:8 which says, "Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit..." This verse comes right before the verse I mentioned previously and drives home the point that close proximity to our God can fill us with courage and give us the heart of a warrior rather than the heart of a worrier. Pastor Rick also explained that the word "filled" comes from the Greek word "pléroó." The idea behind this word is not only to "make full" but to be controlled or dominated. Peter was being controlled by the Spirit. Simply put, to be filled with the Spirit is to be focused on Christ's presence and to do His will. Instead of being swayed by our circumstances, we stand strong in Christ's presence. And then it's undeniable to everyone around us that we have been with the Lord and that we carry Him with us everywhere we go.
It was a very powerful sermon and I encourage everyone to watch it. Our pastor is currently battling cancer and it's been amazing to see how his close proximity to God has given him courage during this trying time.
All that to say... Spend some time with Jesus. It will change your perspective and it will change your life.
I don't think it's an accident that God brought this passage of Scripture to my attention twice in one week. I think He wants me to hold on to Him. If I'm being totally honest, I think I will be facing some trials up ahead. I think this is God's way of preparing my heart and reminding me that as long as I stick close to Him everything will be okay. I don't want to succumb to anxiety or depression or doubt. I want to remember that I have the Holy Spirit within me. I want to remain focused on Christ's presence in my life, rather than the problems that come my way. Because you know what? My God has overcome the world.