Bible Reading: Acts 4: 1-31
Pressure can be a very intense thing. People can pressurise you. Systems and their demands can be very pressuring. In short, life can be full of pressure at varying degrees of intensity.
But you know, when we are squeezed to our core, we bring out what is deep inside us. The outcomes in the room when I press on a perfume bottle is different from the outcomes when I press on an insecticide can. The pressure I put will make them leak what is deeply in them.
What do moments of pressure look like for you?
Our reading today was one real moment of pressure for Peter and John. It was really an emotional hullabaloo of some sort. We start out the previous chapter with them being on their way to pray. They then meet a lame man on their way. The conversation with the lame man reveals something intense that was going on with them. They were broke! The Men of God were broke! Let’s be honest, that can be pressuring in itself. That’s some pressure that even stops people from going to pray in the first place.
Then they have an emotional high as they raise the lame man at the gate. Such excitement! Crowds gathering and rejoicing! They’re seizing the opportunity to preach to the crowds right away, excited to be in a move of God. Thousands of people right there and then answer the altar call!
The emotional pendulum flips right to the other extreme again as they get arrested there and then and are taken before the rulers. This has been a long night they’ve endured, probably not had any sleep. The rulers start trying to intimidate them and asking them all sorts of (silly) questions.
This is where pressure can be very breaking. I would totally understand if Peter and John began to get cranky and agitated and started answering at a reactive level. Or perhaps angry and aggressive and simply just called down fire to burn up the rulers.
Fun fact to remember: they were described as evidently uneducated and untrained men and were standing before a very educated council. That sounds to me like Peter and John were even making grammatical errors here and there.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 NKJV
The emotional hullabaloo and pressure sequence had squeezed Peter and John to their core. When we are squeezed to our core, we bring out what is deep inside us. All that leaked out of Peter and John was a boldness and a smell of Jesus!
That’s striking! It’s one thing to be standing up to make audacious declarations in a church gathering. It’s another thing to be standing strong with an audacious spirit when we’re in the most difficult and inconvenient points of our lives.
The secret is simply that we leak what’s at our core. If you spit out venom when people get on your last nerve, it simply means that there’s venom in your system, around the last nerve area. If you become fearful when variables seem contrary, it simply means that you have housed fear within.
When we are squeezed to our core, we bring out what is deep inside of us.
I want to constantly be allowing more Jesus into the core of who I am. I want to stay strong on my journey of surrender and obedience, of learning and discipleship as he marks me deep within with himself. I want to be learning his ways. I want my Bible reading to be something happening in my heart, not just my head. I want my core to leak the Jesus type of audacity.
Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20 NKJV
Something to Pray
Pray today for more at the core. Pray that your walk with Jesus is stamping you in your heart and not just filling you in your head. Pray that the Lordship of Jesus is seen in the deepest and most spontaneous parts of your life.