He sat at the temple entrance at the gate called Beautiful. And when I think about him, I wonder if maybe the irony of that word ‘beautiful’ was too much for him to bear.
His life had been hard. Ugly. Undeniably difficult.
He was lame, with no way to earn a living. Every day he depended on his friends to carry him to the gate where he sat, asking the passersby to spare a coin or two.
Day in and day out. Begging and desperate.
But one day . . . everything changed, because Peter and John came by.
The lame man asked for money, but he received much more.
“Get up and walk”.
Before he knew what was happening, Peter and John had grabbed his hands and helped him up. And he could feel his own feet beneath him!
The broken had become whole.
The lame man was now a walking man, and he went into the temple “walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8, KJV).
Naturally, the people began to ask Peter and John how this happened. And Peter answered by asking them a question: ” . . . why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (Acts 3:12b, KJV)
In other words, “There’s a lot more going on here! This is beyond our own personal strength and power!”
Then they preached a sermon, got thrown in jail for the night, and were paraded before the high priest and other religious authorities the next day.
But Peter and John didn’t back down, and, in the end, here is the conclusion that was reached by the religious top dogs:
“Now when they (i.e. the religious leaders) saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
Boldness erupting from the ordinary! Healing pouring from the common! Power flowing from the powerless! Strength infused from Creator God.
Uneducated? No problem.
Ordinary? Not an issue.
Inadequate? Ignorant? Worn out? Used up? And wondering how Jesus could ever use you?
The answer is in the power. And the power is from God.
Have you ever said, “I can’t do this on my own”? (Good. Because you’re not supposed to.)
“. . . My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness . . . ”
(2 Cor. 12:9)
It’s all about His power fueling our purpose. So if we’re worried about not being prepared or concerned about not knowing enough or not having the appropriate resources, then it’s time we realize that using our shortcomings as an excuse is in direct conflict with scripture.
Because God is in the business of using the ordinary to accomplish the extraordinary.
His power is unleashed in the midst of our deepest weaknesses.
His strength kicks in when we step out in faith past the threshold of our capabilities and beyond the realm of our abilities. He meets us there, in the midst of our limitations, and His Holy Spirit empowers us to fulfill His purposes in spite of ourselves.
He is more than enough.
Peter and John were ordinary and uneducated, but they did bold and astonishing things.
Because they allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through them. They knew where their strength came from.
STEPPING INTO OUR PURPOSE
I believe whenever we decide to step out in faith into our God-sized purpose, we often do one of two things:
(1). We hit a roadblock built by our own excuses, and so we never even start the journey.
“I’m too old.”
“I’m too young.”
“I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, or spiritual enough.”
“I have a haunting past.”
“I don’t have the time.”
“I don’t have the energy.”
And the list goes on and on.
(2). We actually start the journey, but it’s fueled by the back-up plans we have in place to bail us out if God doesn’t come through.
“I’ll do this, but I’ll fall back on Plan B if this doesn’t work out.”
“If I mess up, I’ll still be able to do . . .”
“If I stumble, I can pull myself back up again. I know how to move on.”
The problem is that in both of these scenarios, we are the ones holding the reins and trying to play God. But the reality is we’ll never get anywhere if we try to make things happen in our own strength and power or if we rely on back-up plans and lists of excuses to control how far our faith will go.
Through the Holy Spirit, God’s power will fuel the flame of faith. It will move us and equip us. It will turn the ordinary into extraordinary and infuse the miracle of His presence into every circumstance we encounter. And when we are weak or weary, His power will be more than enough to sustain us on our journey.
In His Grace,
This post is “Pause #2” in my series Pausing to Live Purposefully. You can read the other posts here:
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