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Jul
30

The Normal Christian Life: Becoming

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As the new converts were believing and belonging they were becoming the presence of Christ. They were marked by three qualities. The first quality was internal joy. “…and shared their meals with great joy and generosity” (Acts 2:46b, NLT). They were characterized by a sense of true joy that was deeper and more profound that the fleeting qualities of happiness. Without a doubt, joy filled their hearts.

The joy that filled their hearts spilled out in their speech. “All the while (they were) praising God…” (Acts 2:47a, NLT). These Christ followers were also characterized by praise. Whatever fills your heart will be betrayed by your mouth. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). When joy fills your heart, praise will pour out of your lips. If you want a quick take on what’s in your heart, listen to yourself speak.

The joy in their hearts and the mouths filled with praise made them into people of influence. They had favor among those in the community. The chapter concludes with this pronouncement: “And enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47, NLT). This influence led to more and more people being added to their body each day. Evangelism is something that we do, but it only has an impact when it is rooted in who we are.

I think that for too long we have told ourselves that if we’ll mimic the pattern of Acts 2 we’ll get the results that we read about in Acts 2. Following these practices certainly won’t hurt your spiritual formation or your church, for that matter. But how many have undertaken a purpose driven model only to feel that they have either somehow failed to get it right or that God in his sovereign will has passed them over? When will we learn that external practices are only valid when they transform the heart? Believe, Belong and Become. Those things can only be produced when the heart of a human being or the heart of a church is being radically transformed. To reduce it all to external behavior makes us nothing more than 21st century Pharisees.

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