Clear Purpose = Unstoppable

Peter and the other apostles now knew precisely what their purpose in life was.

As they told the not-so-friendly Sanhedrin, Jesus is their “Prince and Savior.” He had called them to repentance and given them forgiveness for all their sins. They had been privileged to see Jesus crucified and then resurrected.

There was only one thing that would ever suffice as their life’s pursuit from this moment on. They might still go fishing occasionally. But that was no longer their calling in life. No more tax collecting. No more trying to zealously eject Rome from their homeland. There would be no more of anything that couldn’t be worked around so that they could do the main thing.

And that main thing was crystal clear to them. They were left behind to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Teaching his love, forgiveness, grace and mercy, and instructing people in his truth — this was their life’s purpose and mission from now on.

“Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him…'” (Acts 5:29-32, NIV).

And this clarity of purpose is exactly what made the apostles resilient, relentless, and unstoppable.

“…They (the Sanhedrin) called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah” (Acts 5:40b-42, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, June 9, is 2 Samuel 14:1 – 15:12, Acts 5:12-42 and Proverbs 14:15-24.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, help me to be as crystal clear about my purpose in this life as the apostles were. You have sent me your Son to be my Prince and my Savior. Jesus won forgiveness and eternal life for me and all people. You have given the Holy Spirit to us in the word and sacraments — there is great comfort in this! We are witnesses of these things. Help me to be unstoppable in sharing your love and your grace.

The Language of Love

It’s Valentine’s Day. And I want to share another love language with you.

Possibly you’ve heard of the “Five Love Languages” popularized by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book of the same name.

The five love languages Chapman identifies are: 1) gifts, 2) quality time, 3) words of affirmation, 4) acts of service and 5) physical touch.

But I believe there’s another love language, one that Chapman overlooks. And that love language is Jesus.

Sometimes when we think of sharing Jesus with others, we think of people we don’t know very well. Often, when we think of doing “mission work” our minds drift immediately to the other side of the world.

But what about the person who is right next to you, the one you love with all your heart, your “Valentine”?

“But they’re already a Christian,” you say? That’s OK. They still need a daily “valentine’s card” with the message of grace, mercy, love and the peace of Jesus. They still need to taste forgiveness and hope more than chocolate.

“They’ll never become a Christian and I’ve given up trying,” is your thought? Have you tried combining the love language of Jesus with one of the other five love languages? There’s more than one way to share the love of Jesus!

Yes, we absolutely want to share the “John 3:16 gospel.” We must! Otherwise there’s no way for our Valentine to know Jesus. We fully trust the power of the Holy Spirit to work through the gospel to change hearts.

AND, Jesus conveyed his love in many ways. So can we.

Jesus gave gifts. Jesus invested time in people. Jesus affirmed our status as children of God in words. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Jesus used the power of touch to heal. And as we see from Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (and many others), he had a way of working the conversation gently toward the gospel message from there.

Sometimes when we obey the Great Commission and go, we don’t have to go that far in terms of geography. We just have to go farther in terms of love.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).

Lord Jesus, help me to love the way you love, with all-out passion in every love language. Your love is self-sacrificial. Your love is caring and giving. Forgive me for the times when my “love” has been selfish and self-serving. Create in me a clean, new heart. Strengthen my by your Spirit’s power. I want to love the way you love.

Our Bible reading for Saturday, February 14, is Exodus 15:1 – 16:36, Matthew 28:1-20 and Psalm 21:8-13.

Header image based on "Happy Valentine's Day" by Jackie, CC By 2.0