July 7 – United: Country – Acts 2

Read Acts 2:38-47

I married my opposite. Just last night we were having a heated “discussion.” We want the same things but the expanse between us is like trekking through a briar patch. I always get my feelings hurt. He always has a strong opinion expressed in a stern tone. He’s kind, but intense and I want to escape. It’s been our pattern for 38 years.

I know…that’s a long time. I used to say Jesus is the glue that holds us together. Now I say, surrender to Jesus is the glue that holds us together. After all of these years, through smooth waters and briar patches, we are still each other’s favorite people. Being able to let go of offenses and move our preferences behind what Jesus wants can feel impossible, but, by God’s grace, it is possible, and we have a pretty beautiful relationship.

Acts 2 tells us the believers enjoyed the favor of all the people. That’s a tall order. Favor isn’t given out easily. How did these Jesus followers not only gain the notice of their community but also their favor?

In verse 38, Peter told the people, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Ahhh…the precious Holy Spirit. He is our unifier, the source of our life change, our surrender, and our belonging. The Spirit takes a church full of opposites and unites them in purpose and power. If they will let Him.

If they will remain steadfast in remembering what they have in common. If they will lay down offenses, preferences, and disappointments and trade them for Spirit led lives devoted to the truth, to fellowship and prayer, and to sharing with anyone in need. These believers were experiencing the power of the Spirit and were full of generosity and consistency. All the good fruit of the Spirit was wrapped up in their glad and sincere hearts full of praise. Sounds like a pretty healthy body to be a part of, doesn’t it?

We can be sure they had differences, but in their grace-rooted surrender they found some glue to hold them together. In their submission and obedience to the same Spirit, they shared common desires and goals. Their uncommon actions were renowned for being full of love and faithfulness. “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” The whole reason the church is on the planet!

We have to get this right. I’ve never witnessed a more divided world, and worse yet, splintered body of Christ. Satan is loving our division and the Holy Spirit is grieving. I don’t want to be a part of that and our families, neighbors, country, and world deserve better from us. They’re longing to see the fruit of God’s Spirit in our lives. It starts when we look in the mirror and ask God to reveal where we are a source of division instead of unity.

Ask Him who you need to get in touch with to restore your relationship and take a step toward unity? I know who I’m going to call.

Shelly Eberly

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