Acts 4:19-20 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
If this had been a strictly secular governmental body, this argument would have had little weight. However, this was the Jewish Sanhedrin, made up of supposedly highly religious people, so there was no more potent defense that they could possibly have made. We need to remember it well ourselves, because we are constantly being “tried” in the “court of public opinion.” The difficulty for many people is that their faith is theoretical rather than experiential. They know the right words to say, but they have never encountered Jesus personally in their hearts. That is perhaps the major reason God allows all sorts of trials into our lives. We don’t really know God until we have been faced with our own inadequacy and have turned to Him in faith. The apostles had the advantage of seeing and talking with Jesus after His resurrection, but we can encounter Him just as certainly if our hearts are open to Him. When they eyes of our hearts have been opened, we can see Jesus in others, just as Paul told the believers in Corinth. (1 Corinthians 11:1) The brother who is to be baptized next Sunday is convinced of Christ because of seeing Him in his sister-in-law. As has been said, the person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with a theory.
I have experienced God more times than I could possibly count, particularly since He responds to me each morning as I spend time with Him in His Word. Sadly, many people I deal with take that as me being some sort of “holy man,” a shaman if you will. That’s why I seek to be as down-to-earth as possible. I don’t need to be crude, but I do need to be real. I am not to offend needlessly, but like Peter and John, I’ve got to care far more what God thinks of me than what people think of me. From today I have a week of being “on display” at the City Gallery, with my photographs and Cathy’s crafts. I will interact with many people I don’t encounter on a daily basis. I’ve got to have my heart tuned to God so that I will hear Him and thus say and do what He desires, thus demonstrating Christ to those around me and drawing them to Him.
Father, thank You for all the opportunities You give me to represent Christ. May I not depend on my own wisdom and charm (HAH!) but listen obediently to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!