As you sit in your car after that doctor’s visit, the one where you heard a diagnosis you dreaded, the tears begin to roll down your cheeks. The flood of emotions begin to overtake you and you can’t hold back the sobs. Where do you typically let those emotions take you?
What if instead you recall a key verse of scripture to remind you that God’s got this?
God’s sitting right there in the car with you and will be by your side no matter what. Dry those tears and rest in the assurance that God’s bigger than whatever you’re facing. Call on the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and guide you forward.
In this series, we’ve been examining some default responses to changes and trials in our lives – drowning and running away – and we’ve been discussing three keys to helping us make a better response. We’ve said that knowing Jesus intimately, living in Christian community and relying on prayer will help us make a better change. But, how exactly does that work?
What does a better response to change look like?
We’ve been examining the life of Simon Peter throughout this series. Peter, who is so relatable, so rash and outspoken, so often making mistakes just like we do. We are most familiar with the stories of Peter in the gospels, but how much do you know of his story in Acts? We saw in our last study that Jesus called Peter to be a leader of the community. What comes next is a dramatic transformation in Peter. He begins to live out this calling with boldness and faithfulness and shows us exactly how to live out a better response to change.
Equipped and emboldened by the Holy Spirit
The first change that happens to Peter in Acts is that he’s filled with the Holy Spirit. When you believe and commit yourself to following Jesus, he’ll send the Holy Spirit to you, too. The Holy Spirit is our counselor and guide who lives inside us. It’s our way to carry Jesus with us wherever we go.
Before Jesus left the disciples to return to heaven, he told them “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5).
The disciples were still huddled up together in Jerusalem, unsure about their next steps, probably somewhat fearful after all that had happened. Then, the Holy Spirit comes and fills them.
[callout]Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4) [/callout]
They were emboldened by the presence of the Holy Spirit and equipped with the words to preach about Jesus. The disciples were able to move past their uncertainty and fear and step into their future.
They no longer had Jesus physically with them, but instead were filled with the Holy Spirit who would be with them (and us) always.
Peter was particularly emboldened and empowered. He transformed from a simple fisherman to a bold evangelist in this moment. Acts 2:14 says “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.” Read the next verses, Acts 2:14-41, and you’ll see a powerful sermon, Peter’s first.
Peter was able to boldly step into this next chapter of his life because he knew Jesus, knew God and was filled with the Holy Spirit. He allowed the Holy Spirit to work within him and propel him forward.
By knowing Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit we are better equipped to face change
Prepare before the next storm comes:
- Read and study the Bible
- Commit key verses to memory – ones that help you remember God’s power, strength, and promises
- Cultivate your relationship with God
- Invite and accept the Holy Spirit into your life
Rely on your preparation when the storm hits:
- Lean into your relationship with God
- Trust in the promises you’ve read and committed to memory
- Allow the Holy Spirit to work within you to empower and embolden you to step into whatever is next
- When you’re afraid, visualize the arms of Jesus wrapped around you
- Imagine the almighty God moving the mountains and obstacles blocking your path
- Trust that the Holy Spirit will equip you with whatever courage, skills or knowledge are required for you to move through this storm
Dig deeper when the storm subsides:
- Give thanks to God for being by your side
- Dig deeper into scripture and continue to grow your relationship with God
- Commit more verses to memory to help you through the next storm
Take hope today in this beautiful song, “Lay It Down” by Sanctus Real
Lay it down, lay it down
Why you holding on so tight
Oh, the freedom you will find
When you let go God will take over the fight
Oh, just surrender
And feel what it’s like to be free again
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[callout]This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview[/callout]