Week 39 Day 5
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Acts 1:8-11 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Is this a command or merely a statement of fact? Is Jesus saying, “you must be my witnesses” or that “you will be my witnesses”? It is no minor distinction. You do not have to tell an apple tree to produce fruit. If you plant it in the earth and if it receives light and moisture and grows to maturity, fruit will happen. The apple tree is not commanded to bear fruit. It has the “power” to do so by virtue of how God has designed it. Of course, in Matthew chapter twenty-eight Jesus did command his followers to go make disciples and to teach them to obey him. But here, in Acts 1, it seems the result of the Holy Spirit coming in power into their lives was that they would witness to the reality of Jesus. If we are not faithful witnesses, does it mean that the Holy Spirit is not resident in us? Not necessarily, but it does indicate that the Holy Spirit is not released in and through us. If the apple tree bears no fruit, it does not cease to be an apple tree and the latent power in it has not ceased to exist. The power to produce apples remains in it by virtue of it being a true apple tree, but that power is unreleased and so it is fruitless. There are many reasons why an apple tree doesn’t bear fruit and there are many reasons why a Christian might not bear fruit as well. None of the reasons why a Christian doesn’t bear fruit are irreparable; the cause of the fruitlessness can be fixed. If you look at your life and see no gospel witness over a long period of time, then understand that this is evidence of a problem to be addressed. Do not wallow in guilt and despair, instead simply ask God to help you see why the Holy Spirit who lives in you is not empowering your life as a witness to the gospel. He will show you if you ask him. It might be apathy, or unbelief, or you may have wrapped your heart around some idol, or any other number of reasons. Whatever the reason, he will reveal it to you if you ask him. But if you ask him to reveal the reason, be prepared to repent of that reason. Repent and release the power of God that lies dormant and is ready to touch the lives of people who are far from God but close to you.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.