By Chuck Griffin
Acts 2:37-42 (NRSV)
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
We used this text as the basis for a devotional Aug. 4, but it bears further exploration. This time around, let’s consider how we stretch a moment into a lifetime.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter had preached the first fully developed Christian sermon. About 3,000 people accepted Christ as Savior and were baptized. What a day! They would carry memories of that day for the rest of their lives.
Most of us who accept the moniker “Christian” have a similar point in time where the work of Jesus Christ on the cross became very personal. We were “cut to the heart,” expressing sorrow for our sins while simultaneously understanding Jesus gave us a way to put them behind us. We knew God had lovingly committed to save us, so we committed to following God.
I also know from my own experience and the shared experiences of others that it is not unusual over time to feel a little lost again. A day comes when we crave that spiritual fire in the belly we once felt, and simply remembering the specific day we turned toward Christ isn’t enough to fan the flames.
Think of it this way: Christians are like cavemen without fire-making tools. When we find fire, we want to keep it burning through all circumstances, and the only way to do that is to feed it the fuel it needs.
Remember, these early Christians experienced works of the Spirit that astonished them. Yet even they knew what was required to continue their burning faith.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
There’s the fuel for spiritual fire. We are blessed to now have the apostles’ wisdom and experiences captured in the Holy Bible.
Fellowship and the “breaking of bread” are a little more difficult for us right now, but thank God for the technology that keeps us connected, if only we make a small effort.
And of course, we can pray anywhere and anytime. The most totalitarian governments in the world have yet to figure out how to stop people who want to pray from doing so.
If you’re feeling a little cool, feed the flame God placed within you!
Lord, forgive us when we neglect the great gift you have given us, the gift of life lived now with you. Where we have gone very cold, reignite us once again—you are the sole source of spiritual fire. Amen.