Devotions

Reaching the Ones We Would Rather Avoid

July 12, 2018
“The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’” Acts 8:29 (NIV)
Pinterest Image

There were many places I had dreamed of visiting in the Holy Land. Sights and sounds I anticipated would move my heart deeply as I walked where Jesus walked and saw what Jesus saw.

So, I have to admit … when our guide pulled over to the side of the road at an unmarked, unremarkable-looking place, I was underwhelmed. We filed out of the bus with a vague sense we were studying something in the book of Acts.

There were no signs in this part of the Holy Land.

No other tourists.

Our teacher walked to a place covered with brush and pointed to a rocky path. We gingerly made our way behind him and soon came upon a road:

width

With great enthusiasm the teacher said, "This road is where a man learned of Christ and received the Good News!" We walked a little farther and saw this hole:

width

"This place of water is where this man was baptized shortly afterward and went away rejoicing. We should rejoice! We should rejoice!"

And then we opened the Scriptures to Acts 8:26-39, the story of the Ethiopian eunuch.

Can I admit something to you I’m not very proud of? Even after reading the Scriptures, I wondered why our teacher picked this spot. We had so little time in Israel and wanted to see so much. I felt like there were bigger events that had taken place in much more well-known places. Shouldn't we focus on those?

Why this place? Why this story?

And then as quickly as we arrived, our teacher whisked us back on the bus with one final statement, "Individuals matter."

Those two words have lingered in my thoughts and have honestly made this underwhelming stop one of my favorites to consider.

Recently, I opened Acts 8 and reread it. Here are three things from this Scripture I want to let have their way with my heart and mind:

1. Go near.

Verse 29, "The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it.'"

This Ethiopian eunuch wasn't like Philip. Not in his inner circle, comfort zone or part of his immediate sphere of influence. And yet, the Spirit instructed Philip to go close.

God help us. We must break out of the boxes of our normality and dare to go close to those we don't understand. We must not use words like "those people" with pointed fingers, hardened hearts and spiritually superior attitudes.

By going close, we see things we need to see. We hear things we need to hear. And our hearts become tender in the way we must be tender.

By going close, we might actually dare to let love guide our approach.

2. Gain understanding.

Verse 30a, "Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet." (NIV)

He ran. This took effort, energy and intentionality. Next, instead of wielding God's Word like a weapon and haphazardly throwing Truth at this man, Philip listened.

Then based on what he heard, Philip asked this eunuch if he understood what he was reading. Philip discerned a need and sought to meet that need. Philip let the man's agenda come before his own.

God help us. Instead of running alongside people seeking to understand them, we sometimes have tendencies to run them over with our agendas and perceptions and points of view. We must seek to be discerning, not demanding.

3. Earn the right to share.

Verse 31b, "… So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him." (NIV)

Once Philip dared to go near and gain understanding, then he earned the right to share. Verse 35b goes on to reveal that Philip began where this man was studying in Scripture and "told him the good news about Jesus." (NIV)

God help us. We must go to people. Listen to people. Start where they are, not where we want them to be. And from their point of need, lovingly share the good news about Jesus.

And might I share one more thing Philip did, that I love?

Philip continued to travel down the road with this man for a bit. Next, "As they traveled along the road, they came to some water ... Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him" (Acts 8:36a, 37b, NIV). And the eunuch went on his way rejoicing.

Looking back at that seemingly uneventful day in Israel, I'm so thankful our teacher took time to take us to that place. Remember, there were no signs and there were no tourists.

This was an uncommon stop in the Holy Land.

Uncommon.

Might we all dare to be a little more uncommon, more often.

Dear Lord, I want to love others like You do. Help me to be a little more uncommon today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Romans 15:7, "So reach out and welcome one another to God's glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!" (MSG)

RELATED RESOURCES

Have you ever wanted to walk where Jesus walked and see what Jesus saw? Experience Scripture like never before when you travel to the Holy Land with Lysa TerKeurst! Studying the Bible on location will not only stir a fresh passion in your heart for God’s Word, but it will also leave you with pictures forever etched in your mind of what the settings of biblical events that took place thousands of years ago actually look like. Reserve your spot here today!

CONNECT

Find out if Lysa TerKeurst is speaking in a town near you, here.

REFLECT AND RESPOND

Is there anyone in your life you’ve felt hesitant to share the hope of Jesus with? Look back at the three main thoughts Lysa shared today. Which one most resonates with you as you think about that person? Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Join the Conversation

Study Products


Unexpected Strength Bracelet

Unexpected Strength Bracelet Pulled from the subtitle of Lysa TerKeurst's book It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, let the words of this beautiful bracelet serve as a reminder that you can and will find "unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered." Strength you never knew you had, strength only…

Wrestle Well Journal

In conjunction with Lysa TerKeurst's book It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, this journal is a safe place to bring your process, your mess and your praise before the Lord. Proverbs 31 designed this journal to create a space for you to wrestle well between your faith and your…

The Sweetest Story Ever Told Interactive Kit

"The Sweetest Story Ever Told Interactive Kit was designed by Lysa TerKeurst to teach your family how to tell the story of Jesus' birth in a fun, hands-on (and delicious!) way. Use the elements in this kit to teach your kids about God's greatest gift to us - His Son!"This…

 

We trust a God who allows hurt.

But we also trust a God who uses hurt for good.

When we’re hurting, there are a lot of places we could run to. Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to remind you of the True Source of comfort.

Learn more 

About Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ, with Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide.
Learn More

Support Proverbs 31 Ministries

In a day and time when the world is trying to quiet biblical truth, Proverbs 31 Ministries is determined to help women engage with God’s truth like never before through the resources we offer each day.
Give Now