The Insanity of Sin

We're not cured yet.

Acts 12:12-17 (ESV)

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

Is Rhoda a hoot, or what? Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see the look on Peter’s face as he stands there waiting for everyone to come to their senses and open the door. After all he’s been through in the last few hours, he’s got to be wondering what the Lord is teaching him this time.

Maybe the Lord is teaching Peter what He’s teaching us. These early Christians, all great fathers of the faith, can’t believe that God has answered their prayer. Peter’s standing at the door but they insist it must be something else.

What’s up with that? Are these simply people who don’t believe that God answers prayer? That doesn’t make sense; they’ve witnessed countless miracles. Why did they pray in the first place?

This is a perfect example of how the insanity of sin is not completely erased by the Holy Spirit. Yes, these folks know that God answers prayer. Yet, in the heat of the moment their faith gets neutralized, and their reflex is to act like He doesn’t.

This is systemic. It’s how we’re wired. We learn the truth about who God is and how He acts, but when things get too exciting, we forget it all. You do it. I do it. They did it.

So, take heart. You’re not the only one who crumbles under pressure.

But the amazing thing is that God uses sinners like us to do great things. The folks in today’s passage go on to turn the world upside down. Despite their limitations, they served, and they grew.

God does great things through us, not because of us.

Are you bored? Is your reaction to this devotional, “OK, but how about doing some great things through me?” If so, you’re not alone. But understand that you advance in baby steps. God isn’t going to toss you into a situation where you’d be out of your depth. Great things happen while you’re doing little things.

So spend some time thinking about your future. In what direction does the Lord want you to grow? Ask Him to call you to something that’s within your reach.

Note: this may be something surprisingly menial. Remember, God invented deacons to wait on tables.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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