Eyes Wide Open
September 17, 2018
Verse for the Week: Acts 4:13 (NLT); “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
As a nation, we are in a constant ebb and flow of having to face the horrific. Just this past week we marked another anniversary of 9/11, and the insurgence of a hurricane hitting the coast resulting in deaths and flash flooding. It is in these moments, ordinary men and women take up the banner of courage and join the tribe of first responders.
First responders are a unique breed. They are often considered hero’s cloaked in courage as they run toward danger, not away from it. It’s a counterintuitive response. In a split second their worldview becomes hyper-focused, blocking out the extraneous to pinpoint only that which is integral to the situation. They have but one goal—to help.
First responders take charge and think on their feet. They sacrifice self for the good of another and seem to be wired with a current of dynamic stoicism. In the face of extraordinary circumstances, they navigate tension with steely ease. They are indeed a unique breed.
Most of us can’t say we are police officers, EMT’s, or firefighters. But we are parents. And as parents, we are first responders. More often than not, we find ourselves running into a fire to rescue a child the is haphazardly veering off-course for one reason or another. We take up the charge and sacrifice our sanity, our sleep, and our finances. We are parents. And we are helpers. We are also a unique breed.
Yet, even in the absence of daily parental responsibilities, life calls us to any number of invitations to be a first responder for extended family, friends, and those in our church or work communities.
We live in a world where God is calling us to run with our eyes wide open into the face of danger to rescue, resuscitate, and help restore those in need. To be a mouthpiece for those who have no voice, the defend the afflicted and unfortunate. To extend ourselves on behalf of the needy (Proverbs 31:8-9).
Spiritually speaking, we are wired for this. We are called to be set apart. To go against the grain of the cultural status quo. To inhibit our human instincts and rise above our emotional responses. Unfortunately, we can’t always see the forest for the trees so focus your trust on Him, not the outcome. The opulence of your obedience will be revealed in the annals of heaven.
As Christians, we come from a long line of spiritual and cultural first responders. Jesus is the preeminent first responder (John 15:13). But for this week, we will look to Peter as our spotlight character because his human condition is so much like our own—inconsistent and flawed.
We see Peter painted in many shades of passion throughout his ministry in the New Testament. One minute he is proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, the next denying even knowing him. We see faith overcoming his fear as he stepped off the boat and onto the water only to witness his inability to overcome his feelings of rage as he sliced off a mans ear.
Peter was human. Fatally human. And although we tend to see Peter as intense and impulsive with his high-octane emotions, Jesus chose him to be in His inner circle with a purpose to train him to be a monumental leader putting all of his strengths and weakness to the test.
Who we are—our wiring, personality, values, and even our weakness interact with our environment to shape us as individuals. Yet the catalyst of transformation, and the key that ignites our boldness is the presence of the living God inside us.
Not only that, look back to our scripture verse this week, it states a direct correlation to spending time with Jesus. The prerequisite to overcoming instinct is trust. And the only way to trust Him is by spending time with Him. This is when transformation takes place. Boldness, a by-product. Faith, a fruit. There’s no doubt you will become a powerful weapon fit for a good work.
The standard is set high. Like first responders who are trained for crisis, we are being trained and equipped to engage our culture and the crises that continue to infiltrate our communities.
Is there a crisis in your life, or in your community that needs you to respond?
At the risk of being a cultural rule-breaker, take up your banner of courage and allow the Spirit to infuse you with boldness. It’s time to break the mold. It’s time to cease shying away from crisis because the problem is too big, too messy, too uncomfortable.
Don’t settle for safe anymore. You’ve been trained for this moment. Go ahead, run into danger, into life, into people. Sure, it’s a risk. But the reward is great. In fact, God is with you and waiting for you to respond.
Lord God, the needs around me are vast and I am paralyzed by the gravity of them. Strengthen and train me to respond to your call. Equip me with boldness to run in, eyes wide open toward you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Is God inviting you to run headlong into a danger zone? What part of your life do you need boldness to break the mold? To rise above your emotions and operate in the power of a higher purpose?
Trust the training you’ve received, and start praying today for boldness to trust Him in the risk.
You Make Me Brave by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music. Click this link to listen: https://youtu.be/6Hi-VMxT6fc
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed, be bold, and live with abandon!