August 13, 2018

More Than Outward Appearance

Acts 16:11-15

She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

—  Acts 16:14

Lydia was a wealthy businesswoman. She was also a worshiper of God. Paul met her and some other women gathered for prayer outside Philippi on the day of worship. When Paul shared the good news of Jesus with them, God opened Lydia’s heart to believe and be baptized, committing her life to Christ.

Lydia was a faithful believer in God, but she had not heard the good news about Jesus, the Son of God who came to pay for our sin so that we could be saved and have new life. When God opens our hearts to believe this amazing message, we are filled with joy, comfort, and new life. The Lord ­changes us from the inside out, and we want to live joyful lives of gratitude because of that transformation. It’s not a burden; nor is it done just out of obligation. We delight in obeying and praising God as an expression of the change within.

Lydia’s dynamic coming to faith resulted in her household being baptized as well. She persuaded Paul and his companions to stay at her home while they were in Philippi. She extended hospitality as a true expression of her new faith in Jesus. And by staying in her home—a non-Jewish home—Paul was also showing the grace and love of God.

Father, help us to understand and experience the power of the gospel so that we can be changed to enjoy new life. Help us to reflect your ongoing work in us so that others can see it too—and believe. Amen.

About the author — Lloyd Wicker

Lloyd Wicker has been a pastor for more than eighteen years and has served churches in Illinois, Washington, and California. He currently serves as a chaplain with the United States Navy in Sicily. Lloyd and his wife, Heidi, have three children.

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