I began 2021 reading Acts in my quiet time. I am struck by the focus and the boldness of the apostles. In the face of opposition, rejection and persecution they just keep talking to people about Jesus and His power to save. Focused and bold, Oh Lord, help us to be focused and bold.
Too often we are neither; we tend to be distracted and frustrated. We ring our hands in worry and talk about everything except Jesus. The themes of our conversation are too often set by friends on Facebook, the evening news, and the noise around us. Oh Lord, help us to be focused and bold. Don’t you want to be focused and bold?
I see three themes in Acts that bring focus and boldness to our lives.
First, the apostles had a big idea about who Jesus is. They are always quoting Psalm 2 and Psalm 110, and declaring that Jesus is the exalted Lord, the rightful King Who sits at the right hand of the throne in heaven. He is the righteous judge of the living and the dead Who died and rose again.
Their Jesus is so big that He dominates every conversation, every situation. No problem, no power, no politician, no persecution can squeeze Jesus out of the picture. Jesus Christ is Lord! I think they believed Jesus when He claimed, “ALL authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18).
Second, the apostles lived filled with the Holy Spirit. They depended on the Spirit’s power to make their words have impact. The Spirit opened their minds to the truth of God’s Word, directed their feet to people ready to repent, brought comfort to them in prison and caused them to speak with authority. The Holy Spirit within brings focus and boldness.
Third, the apostles asked God to give them focus and boldness. I have been meditating on Acts 4:29. “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all boldness.”
What a remarkable prayer! They let God do what only God can do—deal with the enemy.
In essence, they said, Father, You know our situation, You know the opposition, You know how corrupt this culture is. You do what only You can do—we will focus on our part; we will speak Your Word with boldness. Lord, give us focus and boldness.
Oklahoma Baptists, I see and hear too much fear and frustration, too much energy and conversation spun out on non-essentials. Focus, brethren. Focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and live with bold confidence in His power to heal, save and forgive.
If we live believing that Jesus is the exalted Lord, if we live in submission to the Holy Spirit within, if we ask our Lord day by day, moment by moment, He will give us focus and boldness.
And we can turn this world upside down.