Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Spiritual Stimulus Plan - Part 3 - "Devotion"

God has given us a "Spiritual Stimulus Plan" in order to allow us to move forward in our life fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. If you're at a place in your life where you are wondering what you need to do--take a look at the "Spiritual Stimulus Plan" that is detailed in Acts 16.

Part 1 - "Submission" - Click here.
Part 2 - "Direction" - Click here.

The third way that God motivates us is through our devotional habits. Acts 16:11-15 reveals a day in the life of Paul that included a devotional habit resulting in the advancement of the Gospel.

"And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled" (v13).

Paul's habit was to worship on the Sabbath. He did it when it was convenient and could be practiced in a synagogue and he did it when it was inconvenient and had to be held on a riverbank. His habit was to worship God on the Sabbath no matter where he was or even whether there was anyone around to join him. Paul was a worshiper of the Most High God no matter what. Now notice the result...

"A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of pruple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul" (v14).

It was no accident that Paul found himself worshiping on the riverbank on that particular Saturday morning. Remember that he had experienced a "Macedonian Call" in the form of a vision (Acts 16:910) and now as he went through his devotional habit he saw the fulfillment of his vision. The Lord has opened the heart of the first European convert to Christianity. It should be noted here that there are a lot of firsts in the scriptures that include women and this is one more instance. The first European Christian is a women.

"And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.' And she prevailed upon us" (v15).

Lydia's devotion to her new Lord is evidenced by her willingness to be baptized immediately along with her household. It is further evidenced by her desire to host Paul and his companions in her own home. Notice that God provides for Paul through the gracious blessing of the fruit of his ministry. Paul's devotion to God leads to Lydia's salvation and Lydia's devotion to God leads to Paul's provision. God uses our devotion as key way to motivate into His will.

How have you seen God at work through your habits of devotion? Is there a devotional habit that is missing from your life that is perhaps hindering you from experiencing the fullness of God's guidance?

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