I’m preaching a sermon series through the book of Acts for the Sunday evening worship gathering at the church I attend. The plan is to take a chapter-by-chapter look at what act God would be calling us to take as we learn to apply His Word to our life. Tonight’s sermon took a look at Acts 1 and asked, “What do I do when God calls me to wait?”.
Waiting can be an important part of life if we embrace the usefulness that God has in it for us. It was this time of waiting in Acts 1 that God uses to change the disciples from the scared, run away from trouble, group of men at the arrest and trial of Jesus to the bold, confident preachers of Acts 2! So, what can we learn from them about what to do when God says, “Wait”?
- Worship: Central to our being able to learn from having to wait is our ability to worship God and connect to Him as our God. Worship is simply using our time to acknowledge and express to God his worth. While we often associate worship with singing and music, it ought to be much bigger and broader than just that. As they gathered to wait, the disciples of Jesus expressed their worship through constant prayer. Sometimes God calls us to wait because we need to strengthen our connection with Him and learn to truly worship Him before He can do the work through us that He desires.
- Accept: Having to wait also gives us the time necessary to accept what was, or what has happened, in the past and be able to look forward to changes God may require. The disciples needed time to accept that Jesus really had resurrected from the dead then ascended into heaven. I wonder how long they would have stayed staring into the sky if God had not sent the two messengers to tell them Jesus had ascended into heaven and would return in the future. It was through the accepting of the return of Jesus to heaven that they would be open to God immersing them in His Spirit. Often God calls us to wait because there are things we need to deal with and accept before He can do the work in us that He desires.
- Inspect: Waiting also gives us an opportunity to inspect God’s Word and see how our actions stack up against it. As the disciples inspected scripture during their time of waiting, it helped them to understand why Judas had acted the way he did and also pointed out their need to select someone to take his place as an apostle. Inspecting is a powerful tool to refine and improve the way we do life if we use God’s Word as our inspection standard. Many times God calls us to wait because there are areas of our life that we need to inspect with the magnifying glass of God’s Word before He can fully mold us into His image.
- Train: Many times we are not ready for what is next and God has us wait so we can complete the necessary training. As the book of Acts opens, the disciples have been given their assignment, the same assignment that you and I have been given — “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV) The command was given yet they were still told to wait — they still needed training, in their case immersion in the Holy Spirit, before God could accomplish His intended work through them. God often calls us to wait because there is training that He needs to do in us before He can accomplish His intended work in and through us.
If you’re like me, you don’t like to wait. I pray that when you consider what God did in the lives of the disciples as He called them to wait, you would embrace the act of waiting when God wants to use it to accomplish amazing things in your life!