In Acts chapters 1–2 Luke records a pivotal moment in the life of the disciples and all those who had gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost. We read that once the people accepted the message that God had made Jesus, who was crucified and now risen, Lord and Messiah, they were baptized. They then devoted themselves to the apostle’s teachings, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.
Then we get to verse 46 of chapter 2 and that’s where we may have problems. We were all into the story up until this point. Jesus rose from the dead. Yeah! He appeared to His disciples. Yeah! He gave them some final commands. Yeah! He promised to send the Holy Spirit. Yeah! The Holy Spirit comes. Yeah! All those who accepted the message that Christ was Lord and Messiah and in response repented and were baptized were also filled. Yeah! And these new followers of Christ devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. Yeah! Well… wait… how often did they do this? Here it goes… you ready?
Everyday? Really? As in every 24 hours? Monday thru Monday? And this serves as an example for me to follow? You sure? If you are asking these questions you probably have what I call the WHEN! Issue.
- You are the single mother who has to do it all from A–Z.
- The career woman who is required to travel most nights of the week most months of the year.
- Or perhaps you’re the widow whose lifestyle has changed so much that all the adjustments and modifications have you going both physically and emotionally from sun up to sundown.
- Then there is the wife/mother, a.k.a. cook, cleaner, taxi driver, tutor, hair dresser, seamstress, and nurse.
- You may be the student trying to wrap this concept of “time management” around your mind and couple it with “make good decisions,” “just say no,” “true love waits,” …and every other life saving cliché adults keep throwing at you.
- And of course there you are with the career and goals who feels your clock is ticking but can hardly imagine adding another thing to your list of responsibilities.
- Or maybe you are the one who everyone can count on to be available given your perceived “freedom”—so you end up being the mentor, confidant, event planner, sitter, care-giver, and volunteer.
…so when someone encourages you to devote yourself to “the apostle’s teachings” or the Word of God, you say, “with all due respect, WHEN?!” “Yes, the people of Acts chapter 2 did it, but I am not in Acts chapter 2! I’m in real life chapter 2016, and I don’t see the space in my life or my day. “
I feel you, sister! You are not alone. This is what helped me: I had to read the entire chapter and focus not only on what they did and how often, but ALSO why and how they did it.
Why – For them to return to the temple day after day was their way of seeing to it that they kept the commitment they had made to follow Christ.
How – Read verse 38. Then read verse 46. They were filled with the Holy Spirit THEN they continued to meet in the temple everyday. They did not move in their own strength. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is what produced not just momentary enthusiasm but an ongoing commitment to learn.
Keep in mind, the goal is not to measure how frequently I’m doing this. The goal is to GROW! And the best way to grow spiritually is to dive in to His word and fellowship with his people EVERYDAY. Believe me, I tried to find another word! But “everyday” is it!
Let’s be real: We would love to just wake up one day and through some passive process of osmosis be these dynamite, on-fire, never defeated, always conquering women of God. That would not be growth. That would be robotics. God doesn’t want to make us follow Him. He allows us to choose to follow Him.
The interesting thing is, we respect this requirement in other areas of our lives. We accept that we have to eat everyday, go to work everyday, sleep everyday, bathe everyday, and practice any craft we seek to master everyday. And when we slack off, we notice. When we remain committed, we notice. So, yes, our spiritual growth is similar in that it too has daily requirements. Habits are involved. Practices are involved. As a member of the Christian faith there are things that we DO to stay spiritually fit and connected: we pray, we journal, we read the Word of God, we are accountable to other Christians. Why? Because of who He is and our desire to remain committed to Him. How? Through the encouragement of other committed believers and the power of the Holy Spirit. WHEN?! Everyday!