Day 29: I need to stop my insanity! (Acts 14:1-7)
Today’s Passage: Acts 14:1-7
We’ve all heard the popular definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over-and-over, and expecting different results”.
I am prone to it!
I have in my head these expectations about how life, my life, ought to go. They, in part, have been created by watching too much TV and reading too many books where the heroes or protagonist always prevailed in the end.
Why do I bring my “insanity” up?
Because of today’s reading. In the short report given in today’s Scripture, we see the earlier noted pattern.
Paul and his companions go first to the Jews. Some believe, and others don’t. Then they go to the non-Jews, and some believe, and others don’t. Then those who don’t believe get folks riled up, Paul and his companions are threatened or worse, and they move on.
The pattern above goes against the TV expectations that have been engrained into me.
Consider what we read today:
They stayed a long time, preaching with God doing signs and wonders (verse 3)
The people were divided, both Jew and non-Jew (verse 4)
Those who opposed them, sought to do them harm (verse 5)
Now this is not new information. You might even be thinking, “Didn’t you just write about this when you contrasted popularity against persecution?”
The short answer is “Yes, I did.” But I have a point, and it goes to whether I have internalized this teaching.
Have I moved beyond understanding I won’t, at times, be popular when I share Christ, to expecting it? Certainly, I want to be winsome, but at the end of the day, do people’s reactions control my witness?
Do I, when I share my witness for Christ:
Hang in there for a bit, staying and sharing?
Expect some people to believe and others not?
Understand that those who don’t get it, that they will not only “not like me”, but possibly seek to harm me either emotionally, spiritually, or physically?
Do I expect these things, or am I an active practitioner of the popular definition of insanity?
As I stare at that question, trying to answer it for myself, I also wonder if in my subconscious I know this is what will happen, and that is why I don’t “speak boldly” for the Lord. After all, I want people to like me.
Now I understand that not all of us are called to be evangelists the likes of Paul, but earlier I wrote here that speaking boldly is a relative thing. So maybe I need to ask, “How often am I speaking, if at all?”
It is why I love the Pocket Gospels of John (I know this probably sounds like an advertisement but hang in there with me). I love them because I put one or two in my pocket in the morning, and when I come home, there are days when they are still there—I haven’t shared. And that is when I sit and reflect on Jesus’ love.
I am going to reflect more on this idea of Jesus’ love and my actions, but today I am trying to remind myself of some things. Those things include: to get my expectations straight, to fully expect that the world will react in a certain way when I share Jesus, and to not be controlled by their reaction.
I am working to be okay with those reactions. How about you?