Since I was fairly young, I”ve had a favorite Bible verse that has stuck with me through every phase of my life: Acts 4:13. Yes, I get the same look from everybody when I reveal the verse because it really isn”t a common passage; most people are like, “Uh . . . really?” and they don”t know whether to act like they know it.
It”s such a cool passage because the disciples are being intensely persecuted but continue to preach about Jesus Christ being resurrected, and this is the observation the Jewish people have as they look at the disciples: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men [the writer might as well have written inadequate], they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
When I feel inadequate and ordinary, I love to remind myself that Christ is extraordinary, Christ is all-sufficient, and he can use my service to impact others.
And yet there are times I still try to hide that I am ordinary. And there are times I believe I should be something special in order to be a preacher of God”s Word. So another verse that has been a life-changer for me is Acts 2:46, which describes the believers in the first church as having “sincere hearts.” Of all the things that could be noted, attention is given to their sincere hearts. When your spiritual life is motivated by the approval of others, you will have big-time problems when no one is around. This is a struggle for many, and it certainly is a category I fall into as well.
Do you know what I sometimes like to do in the spring? I go to a drugstore and just look at the chocolate Easter bunnies. Sometimes I choose one and say, “This will provide an awesome snack for three to four nights.”
But if I pick up the wrong one, when I take a bite out of his ear I discover it”s hollow! There”s nothing inside! It was more for show than for substance. The thin glaze of chocolate must barely have covered the mold. I don”t know how it held together.
Acts 2:46 helps me when I wonder if people outside the church sometimes get disillusioned when they get to know Christians. Is there substance there? Is there a distinctive life? Too often when life takes a bite out of our career or our dreams or our health, do others see solid consistency or a hollow habit of pretending?
I could go on and on about how the Bible continues to be practical and applicable to our daily lives. The Bible is the Word of God””true, active, and living. It works in our lives today. And Christ is seen throughout the entire fabric of the entire Bible.
John Wesley said: “I want to know one thing: the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it; here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one book.”
Dave Stone is senior minister with Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and a member of the Standard Publishing Publishing Committee.