Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 25 (Acts 4:17-20)

“But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  (ESV)

“You are welcome to believe whatever you want, but it is not appropriate for you to speak about your religious beliefs in public.”  Does it sound familiar?  Make no mistake.  It would be beyond absurd, and quite ineffective, too, if the kid at the store refused to sack groceries until each customer recited the Lord’s Prayer or affirmed the Nicene Creed.  Forcing others to go along with our beliefs is not something even Jesus taught, so there is no reason for us to do it.

But does that really extend to our speaking about what we know to be true?  Not at all.  When a friend asks how we can believe in a loving God in the face of tragedy, we need not hide the truth.  When someone wonders how to approach a situation, we can and should freely offer our thoughts that are rooted in the One Who is Truth, Jesus Christ.

So where does this play out for you?  Are there places in your life where you feel hesitant to speak freely about Jesus?  Why is that?  If it is from a desire to be sensitive and not to overwhelm someone who is seeking the truth, then tread gently.  Everything we say must be wrapped in love.  If, however, it is a fear of violating some human notion of political correctness, then consider the response of Peter and John.

Lord, I want to shout Your name all day long simply because I love You.  Holy Spirit, guide me to know how much to say in any situation so that whatever I say brings glory to God in the moment and serves, even in a small way, to lead someone to the love of Christ Jesus, in Whose name I pray, amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

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