Did you know that God wants to change the world through you? And did you also know that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, actually puts inside of you the dreams and desires and gives you the opportunities to do it?
The truth is there isn’t some great hero that comes someday, someway to make great things happen. Great things happen through ordinary people with the faith the size of a mustard seed.
Consider Jesus’ disciples. They were a bunch of ordinary, blue-collar workers. They weren’t educated or brilliant or rich. But God handpicked them to change the world! It was through them that the church grew from a group of 120 people to the millions it is today.
Now you’re probably wondering, “Okay, Chip, this sounds great and all, but how does this really work in my life?”
The story in Acts 3 shows us what’s our part with this simple answer: baby steps.
Here are four baby steps that regular people who have dreams and desires in their hearts can take:
1. We must draw near to God.
In the story, Peter isn’t doing anything unusual or spectacular when God uses him to miraculously heal a lame beggar and share the gospel with those nearby. (Acts 3:1-8)
Peter didn’t have any more power than ordinary people like us. The difference is that Peter drew near to God. He was on his way to pray in the temple like he always did, doing what he was supposed to do. He was faithful.
He who is faithful in a little thing is faithful also in much. (Luke 16:10) God does extraordinary things through ordinary people but it always begins with ordinary things.
It’s faithfulness in the ordinary that prepares us for the extraordinary.
The results of Peter’s ordinary behavior were extraordinary: A man who was lame from birth could suddenly walk and “…the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.” (Acts. 4:4)
We also need to be faithful with the little things because it’s through our regular time with God that He changes us the most.
2. Look through Jesus’ eyes.
Peter always went to the temple to pray, but now he has the Holy Spirit living inside of Him. He probably passed the same lame beggar many times. But that day, he sees the beggar through Jesus’ eyes. He sees the man’s deeper need and it’s not just physical — it’s spiritual too.
Peter realizes that while this man has a desperate need, he has unlimited power and resources because the Spirit of God lives inside of him. So, he takes a step of faith and calls out the man, trusting God wants to heal.
Remember, the thing that makes a difference in this world isn’t your personality and gifts and talents. All that is great, but the most important thing is Christ in you. Allow Jesus to give you His eyes for the people at your workplace, on the highway, and in your neighborhood.
3. Act on your good impulses.
Have you ever had a prompting by the Holy Spirit to go and help a stranger you see on the street? If you’re like me, you probably haven’t always acted on those impulses. It’s easy to dismiss those promptings and doubt that they’re really from God.
The truth is that God daily prepares daily appointments for us to be the answer to someone’s prayer.
So when we have an impulse that causes us to love someone, that glorifies God, and that takes us out of our comfort zone and probably costs us something and we’re a little afraid to do it – it’s probably not us!
4. Give God the credit.
After the lame man is healed, Peter gives God all the credit. While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? (v. 11-12)
Remember, whenever God does something, it’s not about us. We’re not smarter, cooler, or have a better personality than the next person. It’s God who does the miracles.
The world has yet to see the extent of what God will do through someone who does not care who gets the credit. God is waiting for a church and people like that.
To learn more about how God’s plan unfolds in your life and in the world around you, check out Chip’s series Unstoppable: God’s Agenda for Planet Earth.