My daughter and her family just came back from a weekend vacation. It was fun to see them exhausted and exuberant. One of their stops was at an amusement park. With humorous enthusiasm, they each elucidated their own near-death experience while grinning from ear-to-ear! It’s an odd quirk that people like being frightened, as long as it’s within their definition of safe. (my apology for all the “e” words) I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told wife, kids, and others to “Be safe.” However, “safe” is not always God’s will. An example of this is when the Holy Spirit used Peter and John to glorify Jesus by healing a disabled beggar. The healing of the beggar created an opportunity for the Apostles to preach Jesus to a large crowd of people resulting in thousands of people receive Jesus as their Savior. And, it triggered the very first collision the Church ever had with civil authorities. The immediate impact from this collision was that Peter and John were brought before the authorities that enforced Jewish law. When asked the equivalent of “Are you guilty?” Peter and John preached Jesus to them! Next, a fantastic thing happened: Acts 4:13-15 (Phillips): “When they saw the complete assurance of Peter and John, who were obviously uneducated and untrained men, they were staggered. They recognised them as men who had been with Jesus, yet since they could see the man who had been cured standing beside them, they could find no effective reply. All they could do was to order them out of the Sanhedrin and hold a conference among themselves.” For most of us, our hearts beat a little faster if we get pulled over by a police officer whereas Peter and John were in a far more grim situation, yet they were calm, cool, and collected; they had complete assurance!
Safe is not the same as assured
The Apostles didn’t know what would happen to them, but they knew they were in God’s will. In our walk with Jesus, we may find ourselves in some very unsafe situations, but we still can have confidence that God is in control. Also, notice that God hadn’t changed them from fishermen into polished lawyers. They were still perceived as uneducated and untrained. The same goes for us. We may be born again, but God hasn’t put us into a Witness Protection Program! Before I move on, there is another point I need to make. A universal doubt all Christians wrestle with is whether we are qualified for the work Jesus gives us to do. Let me answer that question: No! God shares his glory with no one (Isaiah 42:8). We live by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). But we are commanded: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV) Notice that the authorities were “staggered” by the words and demeanor of these unlearned men. They were staggered because these men had been with Jesus and were full of the Holy Spirit. The same is true for us. Our key is to have assurance in every situation we find ourselves in as we carry out the work Jesus has assigned to us. We can fill our lives with church activities, Bible studies, podcasts, videos, and myriad ministries. However, there is no substitute for spending time with Jesus; to decluttering our minds, removing ourselves from all distractions, and talking with our Savior. If we haven’t “been with Jesus,” then the wonders in Acts 4:13-15 cannot be ours. Will we be safe? Our salvation is safe. As for these jars of clay within which we live, jars are easily broken. Nevertheless, as the opening of that old hymn says, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!”
Photo credit: Steve @ the alligator farm on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA