Wholly Devoted to the Lord

Acts 18:18, 26 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had hishair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow... So he [Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

There Christian life should always be one of moving forward and growing in spiritual fruit. There are times when we must be intentional to take certain steps to go to the next level where we sacrificially offer ourselves for God's greater purpose. Jesus taught, "For whoever has, to him more will be given..." (Mark 4:25)

It is wonderful to know that the Lord always has MORE for us. The question is always "How deep do you want to go? How much do you really want?" Are you willing to take the next step that God is asking you to take?

After Paul left Corinth, he had been continually exposed to all kinds of immorality and idolatry. The world is always seeking to allure us and calls out to us that we need more of what it has to offer. But Jesus prayed that His disciples would be IN this world but not OF this world.

In order to make sure that this corrupt culture does not have any influence on us, we must make intentional moves of dedication toward God. We see this in the life of Paul when he made a vow to the Lord to rededicate himself to the purpose of God to live a life that would be fully pleasing to Him. This was a voluntary prayerful commitment of separating himself from the world for God's will to be accomplished.
Since the Scriptures tell us that this vow involved him cutting his hair, it was very likely that it was the Nazarite Vow. In Numbers 6, we learn that there were three main requirements of this vow:
  1. Abstaining from all things from the grapevine.
  2. Avoiding coming near a dead body.
  3. Allowing the hair to grow freely. (Then cut off at a special ceremony in the temple)

Paul was committed to Christ and to preaching His gospel and so he went to the Jewish synagogue as often as possible to make Christ known there until he felt compelled to move on or to get back to Jerusalem to reach the myriads of Jews that would make it there for one of the annual feasts.

He wanted everyone around him to know Jesus and to grow in Jesus. His heart was to strengthen all the brethren. Does this represent your heart? Are you devoting yourself to the cause of Christ and to the well being of all Christians who are in your sphere of influence and in your home and your local church?

When it comes to the physical things of this earth, I can't help strengthen everyone. I cannot eat for someone else or rest for them or workout for them in a way that will benefit their body as . each one must steward their own body. However, when it comes to spiritual growth, we can be very impactful by sharing the love of Christ and sowing the Word of God into their hearts.

If each believer took their calling more seriously to daily receive from the Lord and then to invest in others by sharing what God has given and revealed to them, there would be great change in our churches and thus great influence in our cities and eventually our culture and country.

Everyone has influence.
The real issue comes down to who is doing the influencing in any given place at any given time. God is always ready to use you in greater ways where He plants and places you. Are you ready to be fully devoted to the Lord?

When Apollos was teaching in Ephesus, he was very fervent in the spirit but he was limited in his understanding. He did what he could and he zealously shared what he knew. But it wasn't until another couple came along who was further along in their spiritual journey, who took the time to pull him aside and explain to him "the way of God more accurately" that Apollos reached is greater potential. This is a wonderful act of love that we can all show each and every day.

Here are ways that we can strengthen all those around us:
  • I can love all my brethren in manner worthy of Christ
  • I can pray for all my brethren and intercede for them
  • I can teach the Word so that they grow and mature
  • I can serve them and meet their practical needs
  • I can disciple individual believers and build them up

People do not know what they did not know. We all have blind spots and Apollos had his. But he showed a humble and teachable spirit and his zeal was now able to be complimented with greater knowledge which enabled him to go on to be very useful and effective for God's glory.

Are you ready to go to the next level in your faith? And are you willing to help others go further as well? The Christian life becomes most exciting and our influence more expansive when we are hungry for MORE and are willing to invest in others to ADD MORE to them as well!

  • Consecrate ALL the areas of your life to the Lord
  • Consider ALL those around you to strengthen them
  • Contend earnestly for the faith with ALL your brethren

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