Yes or No?
Lord, You are my Maker and my God. Guide me today and give me grace to follow You.
Read Acts 21:1-26
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). What is God’s will for your life? To do it, you must know it.
There are times when compromise is good and times when it is not. The trick is to know which is which! Paul had to go to Jerusalem. No tears, pleading, or dramatic demonstration could deter him. Once in Jerusalem, however, he proved willing to adopt Jewish practices, although they were no longer relevant to his life in Christ. Why?
Like his Master before him (Matt. 16:21), Paul has his face set on reaching Jerusalem. As with Jesus, Jerusalem would spell danger. Those who attempted to dissuade him did so from the best possible motives. They remind us of Peter, determinedly seeking to protect Jesus from the cross (Matt. 16:21,22). It takes great courage and resolute faith to continue a path against the warnings of fellow believers. In many, perhaps most, cases the wisest counsel is to be guided by the voice of the fellowship, but there are times when suffering cannot and should not be avoided, and occasions when the Lord’s will seems folly even to other Christians. We are grateful for those who would not compromise their God-given vision. Mary Slessor’s heart was drawn to Nigeria despite many doubts about her capability; William Carey was allegedly told that God would reach the heathen without his help. Sometimes there is a voice which must prevail over every other demand.
Paul’s presence in Jerusalem highlights the major point of tension in the early church: what to do with Gentile believers. At this early and fragile phase, this could make or break the church. Would Paul compromise, supporting the Jerusalem leaders in their attempt to avoid alienating Jewish believers? For the sake of unity, Paul is content to follow Jewish practice. For the greater good, he takes on what he would not impose on others. Humility is a beautiful grace, especially among leaders.
What can and should you do for the sake of unity within the church? How are you practicing humility?
Lord, I know my daily decisions can have a profound effect on me and on others. Give me clarity of thought and strength of will to follow You.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.