S (Scripture) – Acts 14:8-15 “At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he leaped up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have become like men and have come down to us.’ And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.'” NASB
Acts 14:14-15 “When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out ‘What do you think you’re doing! We’re not gods! We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don’t make God; He makes us, and all of this – sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.'” The Message
O (Observation) – Father in Heaven, You love us so much. You are like our Daddy, wanting to hold our hand through life, walk alongside us at all times, guiding our thoughts and minds, gently correcting us when we stray, and growing us up to become more like Your Son, Jesus. You desire to know each of us at the most intimate level, and for each of us to know You – Your personality, Your holiness, Your character, Your heart. And so much more. These people at Lystra thought they knew who their gods were – the rituals, the garlands, the statues…they had created a family of gods to worship. Yet, it was impossible for them to truly know their “gods,” because they weren’t real – they were fabricated, and when these people saw the miracle that Paul had done by Your power, they assumed that Paul and Barnabas had become the manifestation of their gods. How can these people think they really know who these gods are when they were so quick to think Paul and Barnabas were them? They were missing out on the relational aspect of knowing personally the gods they served, because their gods were not capable of being known.
A (Application) – Our God is highly relational, able to be known, wants to be known, and wants to know us. Having a relationship with God is not about being religious, having perfect church attendance, saying the right things, giving large amounts of money, or having the perfect family. Having a relationship with God is based on knowing Him, and on Him knowing us – He already knows everything about us, as He knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). He knows the depths of our hearts, all of our thoughts, and there is nothing we can hide from Him. What it means for God to know us is that we freely share ourselves with Him rather than trying to live this life without Him in it.
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
It is possible, then for us to go about our lives proclaiming the Name of Jesus over all that we do, but really leave Him out at the same time in such a way that will result in us not knowing and being known by our Lord. It’s time to get serious about our relationship with Him – not in a legalistic way, but making sure that He has first place in our lives, that He is the center of our lives, and not some fabricated and artificial position – we should be overflowing with the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives in such a way that the fruit that we bear is the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Our relationship with Jesus is not burdensome, it is beautiful. It isn’t religious, yet brings forth righteousness. It isn’t legalistic, but rather grounded in love.
P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, You are the King of the Universe, but also the King of my heart. I confess that there have been many times in my life when I have allowed worldliness to creep in and dominate my thoughts. I’m so thankful that You continue to draw me closer to You, and as I see Your majesty and how great You are, everything else fades away. I’m thankful that You desire to know me in the most intimate of ways, and that the deepest void a person can feel is filled to overflowing by You. I pray that those who have yet to experience this closeness with their Creator develop a hunger to do so, and after tasting and seeing that the Lord is good, never want to go back to how it was before.