Journal Acts 27 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “…Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss—not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. (Acts 27:9b-11)
…all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. Since they have been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet I now urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.” So, take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told—but we must run aground on some island…” (Acts 27:20b-26)
And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under the pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go. (Acts 27:30-32)
Observation: What does “walking in the Spirit” look like? It is broader in appearance and definition than what most folks may think of…
Analysis: Have I ever inserted my name where Paul’s is? Have I ever imagined doing it?
Sure, I have and why not? This is the kind of stuff to be prepared for in the Holy Spirit.
But have any thoughts come like this, urges to speak of “something” that I wonder if the Holy Spirit is whispering to do?
There are three instances to identify here:
- A thought leading to a perception, and speaking confidently about it;
- That same confidence leading to a proclamation;
- That same proclamation leading to a judgment/evaluation of particular consequences.
These are relevant descriptions of the “spoken” gifts of the Spirit: Word of Knowledge (1 Cor 12:8), Prophecy (1 Cor 12:10 and 1 Cor 13:2), and of Wisdom (again 1 Cor 12:8). Is this important to know about? Are these important in themselves? Yes, and yes, for these are gifts of Grace by the Lord Jesus—the Toolbox.
I have succeeded in overcoming fear to do this stuff—but I have failed way more than I have succeeded. My failure then and now is based in fear—always have, maybe always will.
Why, though? Why is that? I was told once (for me) that it was because I feared man more than I feared God. I guess that holds water because I quickly think (given an opportunity like these), “What would it look like? Will I be ridiculed? What if I fail?”
Before this situation, Paul spent about 17 years being specifically discipled and forming the Gospel (as we know it) in the presence of others—he was not set off alone to figure things out for himself. Daily he met with others, not just scholarly work, but how to live the Way.
No man is an island—and that is certainly NOT found in being a successful Christian.
Prayer: Father, being transparent is somehow sorrowful. I don’t get to present myself as a hero or some such; I leave my warts exposed for all to see. It can be discouraging.
But, if I am not transparent with folks, then I cannot celebrate Your Grace in the Gospel. You call for that transparency so I can grow in Grace, for you to find pleasure in my stated dependency upon You, that I would become softer and softer clay for Your Hands to mold.
You are my Rock, and my Deliverer. Change me daily, O Holy Spirit.