I hope to remember that my actions and words can lead people to or away from the Lord.
Sunday, August 22, 2021
By Rachel Amidei, Journey Worship Leader
“What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” — Acts 21:22-24
Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:14-18 that Paul often writes of certain issues in a way that is difficult to understand and that his meaning can often get twisted. Peter resolves this issue by stating, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”
This issue of confusion regarding some of Paul’s teachings is as potent today as it was at the time of Paul’s ministry, which this section of Acts points out. In Acts, we see there was a false rumor spread that Paul taught against the Laws of G-d. To fix this false rumor publicly, Paul was asked to assist 4 men with (what was most likely) their Nazarite vows, which included shaving of the head, bringing offerings to the temple, and a certain time period of abstaining from particular items. I find it interesting that Paul saw the importance of the issue and was willing to quickly fix it by performing these acts. He never wanted to be misunderstood in regards to his belief in and support of Scripture. Paul took extra time to correct this particular false teaching regarding the Biblical Laws. He would, before and afterwards, also find himself correcting the views of the additional laws outside of Scripture that the elders had put upon the Jewish people. In a time of great confusion, Paul’s desire was to bring clarity to Scripture and to the identity of Christ. He dedicated his life to that call.
My desire is to look like the Kingdom of Heaven and to point others in that direction. I hope to remember that my actions and words can lead people to or away from the Lord. Like Paul, I desire to correct any possible mis-teaching or misunderstanding of G-d’s Word found in my home, friendships, and in my public life. It is easy for the world to look at Christian hypocrisy and dismiss the Creator, and I recognize it is easy to knowingly or unknowingly participate in that delusion. In following Christ I desire to ascribe to and live out the whole Word of G-d as it is true and good for teaching and instruction as Paul exemplified. How can I put real action to this desire? What is one area where I can commit to correcting a spiritual problem or teaching a spiritual truth?
“Lord, you are the great Creator and I recognize you created me for good things, for a destiny in which I become more like You. I confess I have not always looked like You and ask for healing and growth in my testimony. Build me into a temple for Your Spirit, strong enough to be different, wise enough to choose righteousness even when things are chaotic, kind enough to be an emissary of Your heart, and willing enough to submit to Your ways. I’m so grateful You have called me family and given me the blessings of another moment with You. May my life only reflect Your will. May only Your will be enacted in my life. Amen.”
Now You Try
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. Take time to read and allow God to speak to you. Write down the one or two verses that stick out. Even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make a basic observation about the scripture you just read. What stood out? Was something repeated? What is the author trying to communicate? What does the Scripture passage teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity?
Ask, “What does this verse(s) mean for my life?” How might this verse affect your heart — how you feel? How does this verse challenge your thinking? How does it affect your will, asking, “What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?”
Write out a prayer to God. Scripture is God speaking to you, take this moment to speak back. Take a moment to say, “Thank you,” confess to Him what needs to change, or ask for something that is on your heart.