Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Acts 16: 1-15

What strikes me most about this passage isn’t the call of Timothy or Lydia, but really verse 6 “[Paul and Timothy] went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.” Forbidden to speak the word? I wonder why? An even bigger question – how did they know they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit?

When I read Acts, I often wonder what it would have been like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to have born in the 20th century and am sure I would not have enjoyed the primitiveness of 1st century Israel – or, 1st century anywhere for that matter. But, I do wonder what it would have been like to have been Paul or one of his disciples. To have such a close relationship with God, to have a visible encounter with the risen Christ, to see how God is working in the world around us all the time and seeing astounding miracles every day.

Paul and Timothy were very clear on where God was calling them, to whom they should proclaim the Gospel and where they should stay in each town. They seem to have a conversational relationship with God. They even recognize when God is telling them not to proclaim the Gospel to someone. They recognized that sometimes it’s best to just leave things unsaid and let their actions do the talking.

I sometimes hear people say “God told me to do this” and I wonder how they know – how are they sure? Have they tapped into some secret of holy living that I have yet to find? I don’t know.

What I do know is that God has given us all we need to live lives of faith. He’s given us the Holy Spirit to guide us. It’s our job to cultivate that relationship so that we can recognize God at work in our lives and where God is calling us. We may not hear the voice of God audibly but once we get to know how the Holy Spirit guides us – whether it be through a feeling in the pit of our stomach, a burning need to say something to someone that if we ignore that it just keeps bothering us until we do it or some other way – we can then respond in faith as Paul, Timothy and Lydia did by being attentive to the Holy Spirit and where He is calling us to serve.

No comments: