Waiting for the Lord to Stir Your Spirit
How exciting it must have been for Paul, Silas and Timothy when in a vision Paul heard the Macedonians say, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). They immediately left Troas and landed in Europe and began their work. The reception was not what most would have expected for there was great opposition in all the cities of Macedonia where they preached.
Leaving Silas and Timothy in Macedonia, Paul traveled to Achaia, the region just south of Macedonia, and arrived in Athens. Luke described what happened in these words, “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:16-17). He saw the idolatry and was moved to react against it.
Some have misunderstood the meaning of the phrase, “His spirit was provoked within him.” Perhaps the King James translation that “his spirit was stirred in him” may have contributed to this. Their view is that the Holy Spirit of God stirred Paul’s own spirit and this is what caused the reaction. Look carefully at the text. Neither God nor His Holy Spirit are mentioned in this passage. That which stirred Paul’s spirit was that he saw the sin in that land. The godly heart of the great apostle reacted to the ungodliness in Athens.
There is a spirit of complacency in America which is detrimental to our spirit being provoked like Paul’s. Instead of confrontation many seek compromise. We think that we must avoid conflict at all cost. It is manifested in so many ways.
This attitude keeps parents from molding the lives of children. When they are small we try to “bribe” them or “distract” them instead of dealing with them. As children get older, parents choose to overlook sinful attitudes and actions rather than confronting them.
Across our land, pulpits are silent about the very issues confronting the church. Elders choose to ignore problems and the unique nature of the church is lost. This is so drastically different from what we read of Paul.
What about you? Do not sit and wait, thinking that somehow the Holy Spirit will speak to your spirit, and then you will deal with ungodliness. The very sight of ungodliness in Athens stirred Paul’s spirit. That same sight of ungodliness stirred God (think of Noah’s world and Sodom), and we can see the doom of America on the horizon. The sight of ungodliness must stir the spirit of every Christian. It is the only hope any have for the future!