Devotion for the Week...
Confession time...I am a lot more open about talking about God here on the blog than I am in real life. I'm not sure why. I think it has something to do with feeling like if people aren't interested in reading a devotion they can just skip it, where that's not so easy to do in a conversation. I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable, or like they have to listen to 'religious' talk if they don't want to.
I am not a bold person in general. I hate anything that even hints of conflict and will try very hard to avoid it, even when it would be better to speak up. Sometimes I feel like talking about what I believe might create a conflict and so I just stay quiet.
And then I read something like this: "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus" (Acts 4:29,30).
A little context is needed here...Peter and John had been arrested by the religious leaders for teaching about Jesus. While in front of these angry and powerful men, Peter again proclaimed the truth about Jesus. The leaders didn't know what to do next. They felt they couldn't harm Peter and John because the people loved them, but they needed to stop them from teaching about Jesus. Finally, "after further threats they let them go" (v. 21).
Released, Peter and John told the other believers what had happened to them and then they all prayed together. And that's when they prayed "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus" (vv.29, 30).
Consider their threats, they prayed. Makes sense, right? 'Lord, you heard what these men just threatened us with, didn't you?' Yeah, I can see me saying something like that.
"Consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness." What? That's definitely not what I would say! My conflict-fearing heart would be cowering in the corner, trying to figure out a way to never draw the attention of those leaders again. But not Peter and John and the others.
Consider their threats, but then give us boldness to continue speaking about Jesus anyway.
It's like they were saying, 'Lord, you heard the threats. You know how scared we are. So give us an extra measure of boldness so that these threats won't be enough to make us stop.'
And did you notice that they not only asked for boldness to speak for Him, but they also asked for God to perform signs and wonders through the name of Jesus? They weren't looking to quietly share about Jesus to a few people here and there. They were looking for miracles and healings that would draw attention to their work and their teaching. It was practically guaranteed that those signs and wonders they were asking for would be noticed by the religious leaders, who would arrest them again, or worse. But those signs and wonders would also be seen by the general public as proof that what they were teaching was truth, thereby helping the people to believe in Jesus as their Savior. It was all part of them speaking boldly, drawing attention to their life-changing message.
Maybe my problem is that I've never asked for boldness. I've tried relying on my own power when it comes to talking about God, but obviously that isn't going to be enough. Maybe it's time I try being like Peter and John and asking God to make me bold.
What about you? Do you speak freely about God or do you find yourself like me, staying quiet for fear of offending someone or making them uncomfortable? Will you join me in asking for boldness?