A Growing Heart

Authors sometimes begin their books with a prologue that sets the stage for what is to come. Luke outlines the book of Acts in one verse in the first chapter: “But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 AMP)

Most Bible scholars agree that the book of Acts can be divided this way:

1 - The church is established in Jerusalem - Chapters 1-7
2 - The church extends to Judea and Samaria - Chapters 8-12
3 – The church expands to take the gospel to the ends of the earth - Chapters 13-28 

As believers, our lives might be outlined in a similar way. As teeny children or as baby believers, our “Jerusalem” is our own little family or our church family. As we grow as children and as believers, our Jerusalem should extend to “Judea and Samaria” and include our neighborhood, our school, our workplace, our town. And as we become more mature in our faith, our heart should expand to include those who need to know Christ in the uttermost parts of the earth – perhaps people whose faces we may never see this side of heaven.

An amazing thing about the believer’s growing heart is that as our circles of concern widen to include the broader world, that heart never leaves behind “Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.” A mom of a dozen children loves them all with a mother’s heart, but admits that “her favorite” is the one that needs her at a particular moment. In similar fashion, the believer has a heart and a concern for lost people wherever they might be, but might admit their favorite is the one right in front of them that needs the light of Christ at that particular moment.

Just as Jesus passed the torch to the Holy Spirit when He ascended to the Father, likewise those who have gone before us have passed the torch to us – to do our part to make Christ known to our world. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us... (Hebrews 12:1)
 
By Judy Shrout

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