“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk’” (Acts 3:6).
An Unyielding Spirit is a continuation of a previous post What Shall I Pray For? Who I am in Jesus Christ is something God has been impressing upon me for some time now, and I continue to be astonished as God unpacks the magnitude of that identity. Tonight, the Spirit has lead me primarily to Acts drawing my attention to a distinction between a Jewish chief priest and the Apostle Peter.
What’s wrong with a Christian saying to a paraplegic to stand up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ? What’s wrong with a Christian laying on of hands and saying to a cancer patient to be healed in the name of Jesus Christ? Well, there’s nothing wrong with doing either, if the Holy Spirit directs them to do so. Peter was carrying out the will of the Spirit when he healed the lame beggar. “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk’” (Acts 3:6). Just try driving out a demon without God’s direction, and you may find out, first hand, what happened to the Jewish chief priest in Acts 19.
I’m all for stepping out on faith, but regarding this faith we’re acting upon, no branch can bear fruit by itself; we cannot bear good fruit unless we remain in Christ (John 15:4). I’m confident saying that the chief priest acted willfully of his own volition; whereas, Peter acted in obedience and humility compelled by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:22). Many things can impede the Holy Spirit, but I don’t believe anything hinders quite like our own human pride; pride is at the root of all other hindrances. Intellectual doubt, religious tradition, good intensions, emotional reactions, unconfessed and unrepentant sins, emotional wounds, even fear, all reflect an unyielding spirit. Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16).
Miracles aren’t a product of praying the right combination of words, rattling on and on, like a magic incantation, and miracles don’t happen as a result of acting independently. Part of what God has impressed upon me, regarding my identity in Jesus Christ, is that within me dwells all the power of heaven, because within me dwells his Spirit. I worship the same God today as those before me worshiped in Acts; God hasn’t changed. A lot of the speculation attributes the volume and proximity of supernatural miracles recorded in the Bible to the age and God’s redemptive purposes, but I can’t help thinking that the modern church has much to reclaim; our fruits bear witness. I realize that I have much to reclaim, because God has graciously made it apparent to me. God is good!
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