Auburn or Alabama? Pepsi or Coke? The mountains or the beach? Some choices are easy for us. Others are anything but simple. If you’ve ever wrestled over which job to take, you understand this. Choosing whether or where to move grows complicated when you weigh the pros and cons. Pondering whether to take a risk or defer a dream can create an angst that won’t let us go.
When presented with an important choice, pay attention to how you react—your emotions might teach you an important truth. We often choose on the basis of what is easiest, most familiar, or least fear inducing. But Jesus constantly calls his disciples to difficult tasks, unfamiliar activities, and leaps of faith that require the counsel, “Be not afraid.”
Paul and Silas offer their listeners an invitation to know Jesus as the Messiah, and a great many of them do. But others became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the marketplaces they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar (v. 5). Even the most heated Bible studies don’t end so dramatically. Had those who were highly upset paid attention to their jealous reactions to those who chose to follow Jesus, what would they have learned about themselves? What fears caused them to enlist ruffians, form a mob, and create a scene? Maybe they realize that if Paul and Silas are telling the truth, the way of Jesus will disrupt life as they know it.
Some realities never change. Whenever we offer our allegiance to Christ alone, Jesus causes a holy disruption in our lives too. Oh, that we would be bold enough to make that right choice each day.
What holds me back from completely following Christ on a daily basis? What reaction do I have when I turn away?
God, help me join those who hear your good news of abundant life and devote themselves to you no matter the costs. Amen.