Last week we saw that Christ’s presence dwelling and moving among His church produces astonishing results. Unfortunately, Christ will only be seen to the extent that His body submits. But, oh, the glory He reveals when we yield!
Let’s visit a prayer meeting that took place in the early church after Peter and John had been arrested for preaching about Jesus. Upon their release, a group of believers united together in fervent prayer.
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30
Do you notice anything significant about their prayer? Is that how you would have prayed?
Consider the words we usually utter when we approach the throne. One obvious difference strikes me about their request. Their petitions didn’t focus on their own well-being. They set their thoughts squarely upon the revelation of God’s glory.
They didn’t ask God to take away the danger, stop the persecution or even to protect them. Theirs was a single-minded purpose. They desired to see God reveal His glory through them. In spite of the danger, in spite of their fear, they cast aside their own desires and exalted His. And how did God respond to His humble servants?
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31
Oh, that we would once again become a body whose prayers shake our meeting halls! Notice that God granted their request. He filled each of them with His Spirit to empower them and equipped all of them to speak His Word boldly, in spite of the danger. Not one of them was exempt from the gift. Dear one, neither are you.
Times are changing. According to Scripture, freedoms we’ve enjoyed as believers will one day cease. How will you respond as persecution rises?
Scripture foretells that more astonishing things are yet to come—some of them terrible, some wondrous—yet all of them remain certain. In the last days, evil will rise and bring with it persecution and war, ushering in a “time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations” (Daniel 12:1).
Yet in Christ, we have glorious hope!
But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3
Do you walk in the wisdom of the Lord and lead many to righteousness? Is the glory of Christ revealed in you? Today, you choose whether His light will shine through you. One day, Jesus will return to claim His throne, and your opportunity to choose will have passed.
“How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” Daniel 12:6
You may not be fond of the answer.
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:7
When the power of the holy people has finally been broken? That doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. Fear not, dear one. God’s plans always find their root in our best interest.
Consider for a moment the power struggle that rages within you. Each day you must choose whether to bow to your own self-will, or to bow to the leadership of the Spirit. More often than not, your own desires win the battle, quenching the Spirit’s power.
Yet in the last days, the power of the Spirit will rise victorious. Christ’s own will finally learn to overcome and claim the victory Jesus purchased for them through the cross. As in the days following the church’s conception, believers will choose to abandon self-will, leaving its power broken. Christ’s church will rise, yielding to His Spirit in glorious surrender, uniting in the love and unity glimpsed at the birth of the church and restored in time for the return of the King.
Beloved, you and I can hasten His return.
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. 2 Peter 3:11-12
As we choose to surrender to the work of the Spirit in our lives and allow Christ to sanctify and renew our minds and hearts toward His purpose, we move us toward the fulfillment of God’s great plan of redemption.
Like the Disciples who paved the way for us, will you choose to live radically for Jesus, abandoning all else to the rise of His glory? I pray that you will, beloved,
. . . so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. Philippians 2:15
Then our eyes will finally gaze upon our Lord and King without a veil. Glory rises, dear one. Will you allow it to rise within you?