“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 NIV).
Friend to Friend
A few years ago, my family and I teamed up with our local church family and went out into our community for a week-long event complete with bounce houses, food, music and God’s Word. We’d never attempted anything like this before.
For months we prepared. We hung signs about the event and held training sessions for our workers. When the week of our community block party finally arrived, I scurried about with my clipboard making sure everything went as planned … What I did not do was clean my car.
As the week went on, my car accumulated trash, crumbs and anything else I didn’t feel like dragging into the house. (Let’s be honest – it wasn’t all that different from what I do on a normal week.) To make matters worse, on the final night of the event, my seven-year-old took a giant pixie stick and dumped most of the sugar into his hand. The remaining colored-powder formed a mountain on the floor in the backseat. Remember, this was a giant pixie stick.
This was my husband’s breaking point. He could no longer handle the mess in my car. So, instead of packing up and driving home, he started cleaning out the car right there in the parking lot.
The next Sunday at church one of the families we met at the block party joined us. As we talked, she told me, “Katy, when we were leaving the other night I told my husband, ‘Look at their backseat. They’re just like us!’”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Secretly, I had felt so ashamed of my messy car. I felt like a failure and thought of so many women who I went to church with that would surely never let this happen to their vehicles.
That mess in my car became grounds for accusing myself of not being good enough. Yet all the while I worried about the disaster in my car, God used it to connect my family to another. God took what trapped and accused me to bring life and assurance to the heart of someone else.
Sometimes the failure that holds us hostage is the very thing God uses to set someone free.
The book of Acts tells the story of ordinary, uneducated men chosen by God, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 NIV). To the world around them there was nothing special about Peter and John. However, they could not deny their courage and boldness.
We can learn three important things about Peter and John from that verse.
First, Peter and John acted with courage. They spoke and acted in a way that conveyed extraordinary confidence.
Second, Peter and John were unschooled and ordinary. Some translations say “common” or “untrained.” Based on this observation, we can conclude they didn’t have any special training or education.
Third, Peter and John had been with Jesus. This explains why common men could act with extraordinary confidence.
This is huge, because do you know what the crowd didn’t notice? The observers didn’t take note of two lives that met the cultural standard of excellence. They certainly didn’t take note of a clean car. No, when the council saw the courage of Peter and John, they took note that the boldness in their action was directly tied to their proximity to Jesus.
Too often we come up with reasons why we don’t measure up. We may even shy away from walking in our God-given assignments because we don’t know if we can handle it. When we do this, it may be because we’ve chosen the wrong measuring tool. God chose ordinary, uneducated men to change the world. I love the end of Today’s Truth, “they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
To walk with confidence in God’s plan for our lives, we need only to walk with Jesus. What is keeping you from walking with courage?
Dear God, Thank You for choosing me. When others see me, I want them to see You. Help me let go of any worldly standards or failures that hold me back from walking with You. I want to follow You wherever You lead me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What measuring sticks do you use to decide if you’re worthy or ready to live on mission for Jesus?
The next time you feel “not good enough,” remember Acts 4:13, then let God lead you into the good works He has prepared for you.
More from the Girlfriends
Katy’s new Bible Study, She Smiles without Fear: Proverbs 31 for Every Woman, shows you how walking with Jesus is the first step to smiling without fear.
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