Bracing for Change
If what happens within our gatherings does not change how we engage in the world, then our gatherings do not matter.
Ordinary people, meeting in an ordinary upper room, simply trying to obey the One who said that He would bless them…this is the setting of Acts 2:1. Nothing fancy, elaborate, or manufactured. Just people, coming together, walking in obedience, and trusting that Jesus would do the rest.
And, after having encountered the Holy Spirit, it changed how they engaged in the world. Somehow -- each in their own way - they were not the same as they were before. Disciples who once hid in rooms from fear of being blamed for the disappearance of Jesus’ body, were now “speaking the mighty works of God” within the hearing of the crowds below (verse 11). Peter, having caved to the fear of man 3 times in one night, was now boldly proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah to the masses gathered around.
Things would never be the same for any of them. This Jesus who once walked among them will now be abiding within them. This Friend – who would often wander off alone to pray during their travels – would now be inseparable from their hearts. Instead of performing miracles before their eyes, Jesus would be performing miracles through their lives.
Indeed, everything had changed.
Not every gathering of like-minded believers produces the drastic results as on the Day of Pentecost. Yet, every gathering should add to our ability to engage more fully with the world, in the unique way that Christ would call each of us. Our services, phone calls, Bible studies, text exchanges, and even quick mealtime prayer with our family, should not become dry, brittle, and perfunctory. Every chance to gather with Jesus within a group of believers, whether formal or informal, can be an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus, and therefore, an opportunity for personal spiritual growth, encouragement of other believers, and empowerment to continue in the work of the Lord.
Not everyone will preach a sermon like Peter did that day. However, every one of us can be reminded of the goodness of God and humbly shine a light on His “mighty works” in our lives. We can leave with gratitude for His mercy and grace towards us, and in return for His good gifts, act with mercy and grace towards others. Realizing the depth of compassion the Lord has for each of us, we can enter into a world that desperately needs someone to care enough to actually help.
God is always willing to meet and empower us as we follow in His purposes for us. The catch is: are we truly interested in God's will for our lives? Do we desire His ways enough to be willing to be changed from the inside, out?
If we arrive with a willing and watchful heart, as the disciples did that day, each gathering can bring us closer to stepping into our God-given purpose. Growth in our spiritual lives begins to overflow from within us, and we are no longer the same. Changes, large and small, begin to influence our lives as we conduct our everyday routines. We are not the same, and our impact on those around us changes. We are simply being changed from the inside, out – empowered to walk steadily onward into all the “good works that the Lord has prepared in advance for us” (Heb. 13:21).
For this reason, continuing to meet together in "like-mindedness", becomes an integral part of obeying the Lord. It becomes a necessary path towards fulfilling the will of the Lord. And it continues to magnify the "mighty works of the Lord" throughout the world.