I Dare You
Do you remember how dogged and determined you were in elementary school when someone dared you to do something? There just seemed to be something bewitching about the words “I dare you” that stirred up the adrenaline and made you resolute about getting that thing accomplished. And please don’t let the agitator say, “I double-dog dare you.” Oh my, your reputation was really on the line then!
As we grew older, hopefully we gained more wisdom and became able to ignore foolish dares, which upon attempting usually got us into more trouble than we bargained for. However, the apostles take up a dare (of sorts) in Acts chapter 4. We would do well to react in the same way they did.
After God healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple through Peter and John (see Acts 3), the religious leaders were quite upset. They arrested the two apostles and then had a council meeting. They realized a notable miracle had been performed that no one could deny, and these street preachers kept insisting it was done by the power of Jesus Christ whom those same leaders had conspired to murder. So they then came up with a plan, which hopefully would help stop making them look so bad. Acts 4:18 says, “So they called them (Peter and John) and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (NKJ). Peter and John’s reply was, “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 (NKJ).
Once released from custody, Peter and John returned to the other followers of Jesus and reported what had happened. That command not to speak in the name of Jesus had the same effect on the believers as a dare had on us as kids, only this dare was one worth taking on. Let’s remember these four “s’s” when someone tells us not to speak in the name of Jesus: stand, speak, stretch, signs.
- Stand = Stand our ground. We have nothing else to say other than the truth about our Christ. We should simply shrug your shoulders and calmly assert, “But we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” Acts 4:20.
- Speak = Speak God’s word boldly. Once they heard the threat, Jesus’ followers took it as a dare to speak courageously and fearlessly, but they prayed about it first. They realized they would need God’s assistance with this valiant-speaking stuff. They prayed, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” Acts 4:29. God answered that prayer in verse 31. “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
- Stretch = Ask God to stretch His hand out to heal. Not only did the believers pray for boldness for themselves, but they also prayed for results to touch the people who heard them. When we speak God’s word, things happen favorably for others. Some of that healing could have even been for those religious leaders to have their hard hearts healed.
- Signs = Ask God that signs and wonders be done through Jesus’ name. Other miracles besides healings happen as well when we speak God’s word. We need to expect this to happen. We should not be surprised when we say what God says and God brings things miraculously to pass.
So let’s take the dare. The next time someone wants us to be quiet about God, let’s stand our ground and speak up. They just might see some God-glorifying hand-stretching and sign-sending action they weren’t quite expecting.
©2010 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com.
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