Acts 4:13 (NKJV)
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
This verse provokes me to ask myself a simple question. When people see me do they realize that I have been with Jesus? Obviously I haven’t physically been with Jesus as John and Peter were, but I have the privilege every day to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. When people see me do they know this? If I can’t answer yes then I need to ask myself why and come up with a solution to this huge problem. You see, the problem is, I truly want people to see Christ in me but oftentimes, for one reason or another, they don’t. As I’ve pondered this I’ve come up with a few reasons why the people around me may not know that I’ve been with Jesus. Maybe you can relate.
Simply put, because I haven’t been: This honestly happens to me all the time. Maybe this sounds familiar to you too. I get so fired up about Jesus. I’m spending so much time in the Bible and in prayer and loving every minute of it. I mean I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit everywhere I go! And then all of a sudden I just stop. I truly cannot figure out why but I just go on a hiatus. And guess what happens? The joy and excitement that I was experiencing diminishes. Even my husband can tell. He will often say, “hey, have you been reading your Bible lately? Because I can tell.” Well okay! Hah. Who I am when I’m focused on Jesus, when my goal is to be close to Him, is totally different than who I am when I’m not. If I’m not spending time with Christ the people I’m around will not be impacted, it’s as simple as that.
Because I’m not doing things that require Christ’s strength: Maybe I have been with Jesus but I’m just not being obedient and stepping out in faith. This was common during Jesus’ ministry on earth and its still common now. Think about it, Judas was with Jesus. did anybody know based on the way he was living his life? Absolutely not! Spending time with Jesus isn’t enough. We have to be willing to step out in faith and live boldly for Christ if we want to reflect His light to those around us. If we want people to know that Christ is living in us we have to be willing to live in bold obedience to His Word. The verse paints a clear picture. Peter and John were not formally trained to be doing what they were doing. They were acting based on Jesus Christ’s strength rather than their own and people could see it. Do you ever feel Jesus calling you to do something bold but you ignore it because “it just isn’t your strength?” Its time we get over that! True freedom comes when we embrace Christ’s strength and trust that He will do a great work through us. This is when people know that we have been with Jesus and when lives change.
Because I’m a hearer and not a doer. James 1:22 tells us “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This might seem like the same thing as the last one but it’s somewhat different. To me, being a doer of the Word and not just a hearer is about living in daily obedience to Gods Word. For example, if I read that I should edify people with the words I say and instead I tear people down I’m being a hearer and not a doer. Or if I know that the Bible teaches me to love my enemies but I’m bitter and hateful towards them I’m being a hearer and not a doer. What I have found is that when I live out God’s Word, especially in ways that seem to go against the norm, like the previous examples, people notice. To be honest this has always been a big fear of mine. Hearing and studying God’s Word but not doing what it says. Do I have all the knowledge but fail to apply it in my life? I want to stand before God someday knowing that I’ve not only heard his Word, but I’ve done it. Do you?
Because I’m distracted by things that straight up DON’T matter: We have got to stop allowing the things of this world to seduce us and keep us from the things of Christ. Honestly this issue right here is probably the culprit behind the other three reasons why people don’t know I’ve been with Jesus. In Mark 4 we read about the parable of the sower and what often happens when people hear God’s Word but don’t go on to produce fruit. Verses 18-19 says “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” More money, success, possessions, and attention will NOT increase our joy. Producing fruit for the kingdom of God will. This is what happens when people look at you and know that you’ve been with Jesus. They don’t know this by seeing how rich you are, how intelligent you are, how successful you are, how big your house is, or how great your kids are. We have got to refocus our attention on Jesus if we want to be remembered in the same way that Peter and John were, as men and women of God who boldly proclaim Christ and produce everlasting fruit for the Kingdom of God.
Thank you for reading my blog!