From early morning until evening, he expounded his position to them, bearing witness to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets. Acts 28:23
My husband, John, created an amazing Couch to 5K program that he coaches every spring. Twice a week, for ten weeks, he leads over 100 people who want to move from their couch to actually running a 5K race on 4th of July morning. He always starts the sessions with great little speeches that teach the nitty-gritty of running: what clothes and sneakers to wear, how much food and water to have before running, how to stretch out before and after, etc.
He’s just as talented in his professional life. The only skill he lacks is organization. So when I started working for him a few years ago, my primary roll was to organize him in his professional life, and in his running club volunteer work.
For his Couch to 5K program, I wanted to map out all his speeches so he didn’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. He didn’t want me to. Not understanding why, I’ve been passively-aggressively trying to have it may way ever since.
When I give a retreat or have a speaking engagement, I map out just about every word I’m going to say. It can be nerve-racking being a public speaker. I always fear I’ll panic, my mind will go blank, and I’ll look like an idiotic deer in headlights, with no idea what to say. My notes are my compass and my security blanket; I spend hours creating them.
So when I read this Scripture passage, I was baffled by Paul. How could he talk from morning until night to the leaders of the Jews without hours and hours of preparation? Not only was that a ton of information to convey, but he knew the leaders would be challenging him, sometimes hostilely. I’d be quaking in my shoes!
Yet, recently, I was inspired to give a little introductory session to our Youth Group about our new Prayer Path. There is so much pressure on teens these days. They need a positive outlet where they can release all that angst and confusion. What better place than at the feet of God?
Interestingly enough, my immediate thought was: I won’t have to prep for that session at all. I’ll just wing it.
It’s not that I’m not intimidated by teens. In fact, I think they can be the toughest audience sometimes. It’s that I believe so deeply in the power of the Prayer Path, and I’ve spoken so often about it, I know the words will come naturally.
That’s when it clicked: When we believe in something so deeply, and know it so intimately, the Holy Spirit is present and takes over. It’s not a control issue at all. When our passion is so intricately entwined with God’s will for us, the Spirit’s breath becomes our breath; and the Spirit’s words become our words.
Without a doubt, that was the case with Paul. Through his unscripted and unrehearsed words, he converted thousands of people to believe in Christ. In doing so, he transformed lives.
It’s the same with my husband. On 4th of July morning, a slew of people who used to spend most of their time sitting on the couch will cross the finish line of that 5K race. That fact confirms John is following God’s will, transforming lives in the process.
Questions for Reflection:
* Is there something I believe in so deeply that I can share it with others, with no preparation at all?
* Have I ever considered that means I’m following God’s will, and the Holy Spirit and I become one when I speak?