As we come to the topic 'Live Sent' in our series, 'This Christian Life,' I can’t help but think about how most of us genuinely want to have an impact during our lifetime. We want to make a difference in our workplace, school, home, business, church, or our city. But most of us don’t struggle with the desire to make a difference; most of us struggle with how to make a difference.
In Acts 1 we see the beginning of the early church. The disciples had just witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. That alone would have been incredible, to say the least. So, naturally, when Jesus appears to them it makes sense that they would have been eager to ask Jesus when he’s going to make everything right and ultimately restore Israel (Acts 1:6). However, Jesus rebukes the disciples’ impatient question to “get on with the mission”(Acts 1:7) and instead, tells them it’s basically not for them to worry about and instead he commands them to wait patiently for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I believe most of us, including myself, struggle to keep in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing, especially when it comes to being on mission (Galatians 5:25). We get passionate about accomplishing the mission for God; and yet we sometimes miss the primary and vital step of listening to God in order to know our specific set of instructions for accomplishing the mission.
Here’s the crux of the issue: our ability to listen, discern, and act accordingly is the most crucial part of being an effective witness for Jesus. You can’t effectively live sent without the working of the Holy Spirit within you. As one commentator put it: “We need God’s timing and power to truly be effective.”
How are you doing waiting on God? How are you doing listening for God’s instructions? Have you been running ahead of His plans? Why? Have you been dragging your feet due to fear, worry, doubt, or insecurity? Why?
This is Jesus was getting at in Acts 1:8 when he tells his disciples that in order to be effective witnesses, they must first live effectively in the area of listening and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Out of that ability will come the fruit of being an effective witness for His glory (John 15:5).
As tempting as it is to want to jump right in to what it looks like to be an effective witness for Jesus, I’d like to encourage you and your House Fellowship to discuss and examine what it means to be effective in listening to the Holy Spirit and waiting on His guidance in every situation.
1. What do you think God wants you to see from this text?
2. What are some tangible ways you listen to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis?
3. Does your local Christian community play a part in this process? If so, how?
I'll be preaching on this topic Sunday, June 7th. See you there!
Minister of Outreach and Discipleship