“How do I become the better version of myself?” is the question behind many of the New Year’s resolutions being made. Gym membership will be taken out, dance classes signed up to by couples realising they need to do more together, diets will be started. As a nation we will resolve to get fitter, healthier, more loving, and our intentions are sincere.
Within churches, people will resolve to read the entire Bible in a year, (I’ve set out to do it several times and managed it once), to grow in their discipleship, to pray more, to give more, to increase their witness, in summary to demonstrate in a clear way that Jesus is their Lord. Like those on a diet, temptation will come quickly to rob us of our best intentions. Our time, money and focus will be stretched and something will have to give. What will it be?
In Acts 3 and 4 we read the story where Peter and John heal a man who is looking for some money to feed himself. They boldly state that healing comes in Jesus’ name and unsurprisingly, the crowd who gather to witness the miracle are curious to find out more. The controllers of the public space, who police what is deemed polite to talk about, recognise that their act of kindness, the miracle of healing cannot be denied but that they must not speak about Jesus. They declare that they can do no such thing and then return to the church for worship, prayer, teaching and refreshing to restore their resolve.
There are many who are happy for us to serve the nation of Scotland, to spend our time demonstrating the power of God in acts of kindness, generosity and in the outworking of his miraculous power but they would also seek to police the spaces and conversations where these acts are carried out. May we strengthen our resolve to not only serve in the name of Jesus but to speak out his name and his truth as the one who can truly help people “become the better version of myself.”