NT Fire Starters – Day 179: Acts 14:1-28
READ: Acts 14:1-28
THINK: Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated? Everyone likes to get credit for what they’ve done. Many will even take credit for things they don’t deserve if others will give it to them. But few people are willing to give up glory or pass up praise. Even fewer will do so when they actually have to pay a price and suffer shame instead. Paul and Barnabas were hailed as “gods,” but they refused to accept praise and to draw attention away from the true God they served. They suffered greatly as a result. But God spared their lives and continued to use them powerfully.
RESPOND: Why did those who refused to believe the message of Jesus (v. 2) feel the need to cause division and discourage others from accepting Him? What was the purpose of the “miraculous signs and wonders”? (See 14:3 note.) Is this purpose still valid today? Why or why not? Who and what are “apostles”? (See 14:4 note.) After encountering opposition and even a plot to kill them (v. 5), why would Paul and Barnabas still look for places to tell about Jesus? How did Paul and Barnabas recognize faith in the crippled man? (See 14:9 note.) Why did they emphatically reject the people’s praise (vv. 13-15)? In what way do people sometimes accept praise that belongs to God alone? How did Paul and Barnabas direct people’s attention back to God? What price did Paul pay for honoring Jesus and doing what’s right? (See 14:9 note.) Why did God allow Him to suffer this way? (See 14:22 note.) Why will God’s people often suffer for the cause of Christ? Who are “elders” and how and why are they appointed? (See 14:23 note.)
PRAY: Ask God for boldness to do what’s right, even when it costs you dearly. Pray that you’ll never accept praise for using your God-given gifts and opportunities, but that you’ll always direct attention and honor back to God.
ACT: When you face situations in which it would be easy to compromise your principles and faith, rely on God for strength and do what’s right. Don’t hesitate to tell why you’re doing the right thing–because of your faith in Christ. Also, resist the tendency to take credit for your accomplishments. When God allows you to effectively use your talents, gifts and opportunities, give humble and sincere praise to God, acknowledging Him as your source and inspiration.