This week, we finished up our series Made to Run where we’ve gone through the book of Acts to see how the Holy Spirit led the early church to impact the world. So far, we’ve seen that a church that is made to run is devoted to community, radically generous, pursues restoration, is transformed by the gospel, filled with the Holy Spirit, and continually chases the call of God. That’s the kind of church that God used then and desires for us to be today.
When we run the way God made us to run, we experience freedom, clarity of our purpose, and live a life led by the power of the Holy Spirit, a power that’s way beyond our own strength. It’s only when we surrender to Christ and make him Lord over our lives that we experience the kind of life that God intends for us.
Read Acts 19:11–20.
In Acts 19, we see awesome miracles being displayed by Paul and in response, the gospel spread like wildfire. We can look at the works that the Holy Spirit did through Paul as something unique to him and his time, but God is calling for all of us today to do the kind of acts that Paul did, to live in Christ’s freedom and run with His Spirit’s power. Each one of us as believers have been given the light of God’s kingdom to drive back the darkness in the world. However, that isn’t always the case in our life. Frequently, we don’t live up to our potential—instead of running, we sit or stagnate.
There are two things that prevent us from living in freedom and walking in Christ’s light.
1. Being Unaware of God
Read Acts 19.1-6.
The old saying, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you” couldn’t be further from the truth! When we are ignorant of God’s promises, purposes, and power, we are bound to live life beneath what God intends for us. We miss out on seeing and partaking in what God is doing in the world and instead of finding freedom in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are never able to flourish in our relationship with God. God never intended for us to sit through life unaware, but gave us everything we need to walk a faithful life—He is calling for us to open our eyes and take hold of Him.
Question: What kind of activities could you incorporate in your day to help you be more aware of God’s presence?
2. Being Unfaithful to God
Read Deuteronomy 8.19.
Throughout history, every time God’s people have been enslaved and rendered powerless, there has been a common denominator that contributed to their misfortune—idolatry. Idolatry can be defined as the turning of our hearts towards something or someone that isn’t God. Scripture warns us frequently about the dangers of idolatry and how that impacts our relationship with God as well as our witness to the world. When there are things in our hearts that are taking the place that belongs to God, we will be unable to experience His freedom and the power of the Holy Spirit until we surrender our idols and put Him first.
Question: What are some “idols” in your life that could be distracting you from fully trusting Christ?
There are three things we can do to live in freedom and run with power.
1. Cultivate Reverence for God
Read Proverbs 14.26-27.
Fearing the Lord doesn’t mean living in constant dread of sinning or being struck down by lightning if you have a negative thought, it’s about seeing God as the king of kings and lord of lords but also as a loving Father. When we rightly fear God, we have a healthy reverence for Him that desires to honor and exalt His name. When we do our best to represent God as a light to the world, those around us can’t help but see Christ! Our love and obedience allows God’s freedom and power to manifest in our lives and create change around us.
Question: What has fearing God meant to you? What steps can we take today towards developing a healthy fear of the Lord?
2. Practice Radical Authenticity
Unconfessed sin separates us from God’s presence, purpose, and power. The good news is that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us, but sometimes, there are some sins and temptations that are too much for us to bear alone, and we need a Christian community to walk alongside us. When we confess or admit our brokenness to another believer or group of believers we know we can trust, they can pray for us to overcome that specific sin and be a source of strength and encouragement. It’s through Christian community where we learn to be vulnerable and authentic.
3. Renounce You Idols, No Matter the Cost
There are some idols that may seem harmless—friends, career goals, fitness and health aspirations. These things aren’t inherently bad or evil, but the value that we place on them will determine whether or not they become idols that replace God in our hearts. It’s not that we need to love things less, we just need to redirect our hearts towards loving God more. For Paul, knowing Christ Jesus as Lord was his greatest pursuit and greatest desire. We see in the life of Paul that his running in the freedom and power of God created freedom for many people and even today, we are encouraged by his writing and actions. Are we willing to do whatever it costs to let go of idols and put God first so we can run how God made us to run?