From Comfortable to Committed - Part 2
Lord, let my heart be open to your word and be transformed to love what you love and hate what you hate. Come into my heart, come into my mind, come into my spirit so that I will take from these words what you want me to take and that I will live out the very message you teach.
Read: Acts 4:18-20, NIV
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to Him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.””
We live in an ever-growing governmental society that seems to be “hell bent” on telling believers, “Christians”, not only how to live, but even how to speak - all in the context of not being offensive or contrary, all in the context of being aligned with the “agenda” of the day. Some churches demand that specific “themes/topics of speech” be or not be communicated by the staff, lay leaders, and congregation regardless of its “biblical correctness” vs. “political correctness.” We must ask ourselves the same questions today that Peter and John may have been asking themselves in the moment between the high-priests command and their response… “How then are we to respond? How then are we to live?”
Today, and as in the 1st century, evil seems to be redefined on a daily basis. The temptation is strong to speak and to act swiftly and with power and might. It may be a noble desire to correct and reform society, but we must be careful to NOT be the “noisy gong” that the apostle Paul references in his 1st letter to the Corinthians. Rather, we must “speak the truth in love” as commanded in Ephesians 4:15. Peter and John answered exactly this way. They answered as Jesus did and would have. They were not harsh or abusive. They didn’t scream, yell, or waive scripture (Proverbs 12:19) in the Pharisees’ faces. They stood firm and committed to the words and the ways of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They learned from the best. They answered back in the form of a question so that the answer the Pharisees were looking for would come out of their very mouths. They (Peter and John) then gave an account for how they would speak and live… “we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Living in a world whose sensitivity to biblical truth seems to be skyrocketing, we must hold firm to the word of God and His commands. In our steadfastness, our speech and the message we communicate must also be delivered with a certain level of compassion and kindness. Make an effort the next time someone challenges your faith walk to think before you speak. You may not get another chance. Ask yourself, “How then must I live? How then must I speak?” Speak the truth in love, but as stated in chapter 5 of the book of Acts, you must obey God, not men.
Lord Jesus, I pray that my thought life, my actions, and my words are forever truthful while also extending love. Please bless me with the poise and humility to always speak the truth, but not to speak a discouraging word. Father, allow my words to always be pleasing to your ears, that they will bring you glory! These things I pray in the wonderful name of Jesus, Amen!!!