You know what it’s like when you first get saved or have an awesome experience with God and you’re just on fire for Him? Maybe you went to a special camp or trip with your youth group. Either way, you experienced something incredible and you are on a true spiritual high. When you get back and go back amongst your peers, at first it’s easy to stick to all your resolutions. After a while, though, adversity starts coming your way and the road starts getting rough and all too often the fire dies out quickly.
In the beginning of the book of Acts, Jesus goes back up into Heaven and the apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This is their incredible experience that truly sets them on fire. They go out and start preaching and spreading the word and performing these incredible miracles in Jesus’s name.However, as is almost always the case, the apostles were almost immediately met with opposition from people who wanted to stop them. Peter healed a crippled beggar, and the religious leaders (or the Sanhedrin) heard about it. They called them Peter and John in to talk to them. They may have expected the apostles to be afraid and back down, but they just ended up receiving a sermon. The apostles told them that they “cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (3:20) The Sanhedrin couldn’t figure out how to punish them, so they threatened them and let them go.After they left they prayed for more of the Holy Spirit and were filled. After they went out and preached some more, the apostles were thrown in jail! An angel came and let them out, and they preached again. When they were brought before the high priest to be questioned they told them, “We must obey God rather than men!” (5:29) They were flogged as punishment. They were beaten with a rod or a cane. And yet, as they left afterwards, they were “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (5:41)
These apostles had an unstoppable faith that should be an example to all believers. No matter what opposition they faced, they never quit seeking opportunities to carry out God’s will for their lives. (A sidenote on opposition: If someone or something is trying to stop you, this means that you are being effective in your work.) These men were dragged before elders, threatened, put in jail, and flogged, and still they continued to live for Jesus. Why do we let fear of the opinions of others or the lack of convenience stop us so quickly?
I greatly encourage you to read from the book of Acts yourself! It’s truly an amazing book.