June 11, 2007 Ration

Acts 18:9-10a

“And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you…’” – Acts 18:9-10a.

As I read the Bible I pray, “Lord, help me understand the truth and give me discernment to apply that truth to my life in the arts and otherwise.” One truth that I hear in these verses is that God is with me, so I do not need to be afraid. And specifically, I do not need to fear man such that I curb what I say artistically as it regards the truth. I should speak (write) and not be silent as God gives occasion. Everywhere Paul speaks he has people that not only disagree with the truth he is speaking, they take up arms against him. They beat him, stone him, chase him, send the government after him and throw him in prison. In the art culture in America we have no real fear of this kind of opposition (which all the more condemns our cowering to the fear of man). Paul faced life-threatening opposition to what he would speak, while we only face scoffing or maybe a public rejection of our preferences.

What was Paul speaking of? He spoke boldly of truths like: Jesus is the Christ; Jesus is the only mediator between God and man; all things were created through Him and for Him and in Him all things hold together; all our righteousness is as filthy rags; our justification with God is through faith in Jesus alone; the mind that is set on the flesh is not able to please God. This is not a self-esteeming speech Paul is “blessing” his audience with. Paul is out to give his audience the pleasures of freedom and it is the truth that will set them free! The truth about God and his son Jesus Christ and the truth about man and his nature and predicament as he stands before the Holy God is what Paul is called to proclaim. And Paul finds it to be his pleasure.

And so in love, God encourages Paul not to fear man when He says, “…for I am with you. Speak and do not be silent…” And in love, Paul obeys his Father in faith and testifies among the sheep and the wolves to which he has been given occasion. And in love, Paul stays a year and a half, loving the people, giving them the word of God, in love. The reason Paul can love them is because he does not fear them. And he does not fear them because when he is tempted to fear, he holds up the shield of faith to absorb the tempter's arrows and finds footing in God’s faithfulness, not his own strength, as God says, “do not be afraid…for I am with you…but go on speaking and do not be silent…” God, give us faith to be bold in Your truth.

Jason Harms

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© 2007 The Gaius Project

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