Recently I was watching the TV show “24” and there was a theme that appeared that has been in just about every single episode. Then as I thought about it, that same theme was in just about every movie or TV show where a bad guy is trying to get a good person to do something bad. According to these script writers, the most effective way to persuade someone to do something they don’t want to do, is to threaten someone they love. Dictionary.com says one of the meanings of persuade is to “provide a sound reason for someone to do something”. This doesn’t mean a positive reason or a legal one, just a sound one. In the examples I mentioned above, that is typically the choice between the treat of harm to a loved one or the deed in question.
While persuasion can be powerful and useful (for good or bad reasons), empowerment can trump persuasion any time. While persuasion is about providing a reason for someone to do something even if they don’t want to, empowerment is providing the reason and means to do something the person already has the will to do.
We see this battle play out over and over again in Acts. The Pharisees are constantly trying to persuade the apostles to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. But the reason they keep failing is that the Holy Spirit has empowered them to keep serving Him. On an early occasion, they had healed a man who had been crippled since birth, over four decades. The Pharisees question them about this event, but Peter responds.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
When the Pharisees found they had no influence over the apostles, they pressed on.
So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.
The Pharisees could not persuade the apostles to stop teaching against their rule and instruction because the apostles had been empowered by the Holy Spirit. What’s incredible about this story is that the same Holy Spirit that filled the apostles to empower them to continue to preach the word (against all opposition) is the same Holy Spirit that still empowers every believer today.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9) And if saved, then also filled with the Spirit who empowers you.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.