I have been challenged by something I read recently — “I worry that our lives are like soap operas. We can go for months and not tune into them, then six months later we look in and the same stuff is still going on.”
The urgency of the immediate prevents us from seeing the impact of the important. So we stagnate in the status quo. But that’s not what God wants. God’s passion is for men to immerse themselves in “the Word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13b). God not only can transform us; He wants to transform us (see Rom. 12:1-2).
An examination of the disciples’ lives reveals the impact of God’s power to metamorphose Satan’s children into His children. As Peter and John began to lead the church into the apostolic era, religious leaders observed them and “understood that they were uneducated and untrained men” (Acts 4:13b). Paraphrased, it might read, “it was obvious that these were illiterate laymen.” They weren’t exceptionally bright. They weren’t professionally trained. They were ordinary men.
Yet it was also obvious that these ordinary fishermen were extraordinarily graced. They were doing things no one else would. Or could. Why? How? Two reasons are predominant. When Peter and John were arrested, they came before the high priest Caiaphas. He, you remember, was the one who had condemned Christ to death for blasphemy only a few weeks earlier. And it was in his courtyard, while he was condemning Christ, that Peter denied even knowing Jesus. Now, mere weeks later, Peter again sees Caiaphas. And this time, Caiaphas wants his head.
To this man, Peter says this: “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:8b-12).
Six or eight weeks earlier Peter miserably denied Christ. Now he boldly proclaims Him. How? Acts 4:8a tells the first reason: he was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” He allowed the transforming power of the Spirit of God to direct him. Weeks earlier he was willing to quench God. Not now. God was empowering Peter, and Peter was fully submissive to Him.
But there was also another reason. Caiaphas and the others on the council recognized Peter and John as being illiterate laymen. And they also “began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Paraphrase: “as they looked at the lives of Peter and John, they began to see the life of Jesus in them.” The more Caiaphas looked, the less Peter and John looked like Peter and John. And the more they looked like Jesus Christ.
When Jesus chose His twelve disciples, His first priority for them was “so that they might be with Him” (Mk. 3:14). They were to be with Him so they might become like Him. It took more than three years, but they changed. They became like Him.
In light of what God could do with a couple insignificant, uneducated, untrained fishermen, isn’t it ironic we are so antithetical towards change? Our tendency is to balk at any movement towards change. Yet for the believer, change is the order for the day. Think about it. Are you everything God wants you to be? (If you said “yes,” think about it again). If not, then God wants you to change. To be hesitant and resistant to change, then, is to be glaringly transparent about the pitiable condition of our spiritual lives.
Be with Jesus. Be changed by His grace.