Paul himself wanted to go before the crowd, but the believers would not let him. Acts 19:30
A police car, lights flashing, appeared from nowhere and stopped in front of me.
“You crashed a red light” explained my husband sitting in the passenger seat next to me.
“No I didn’t,” I replied adamant I had crossed the intersection before the traffic light had changed.
The doors of the police car opened and two policemen walked towards me.
“He’s going to book you,” continued my husband indicating to the paperwork held in one policeman’s hand.
“Don’t argue,” he said firmly.
My husband knows me too well.
Sometimes I will go all-out for issues I’m passionate about. Often I need to think again.
We encounter Paul in a similar situation in Ephesus with his friends.
Paul spent three years in this dynamic, thriving center of Asia fervently teaching Jews and Greeks about Jesus. Many Greeks converted to the Christian faith. This, however, created quite a stir in the city.
In the center of Ephesus stood the impressive temple of Artemis—now considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—spectacular in brilliant colors and gold leaf.
People flocked from all over the Roman Empire to worship the gods at this famous temple. For many local craftsmen this meant good business creating and selling small replicas of the temple and the goddess Artemis of Ephesus.
However, when people converted to following Jesus, they no longer worshipped at the temple and this meant the craftsmen were losing business.
A huge crowd—shouting, yelling, and all worked up—met in the theater used for public meetings to complain.
Paul wanted to get in there and put them right.
Paul, I think, was the type of person who liked to make his opinion known, especially about what he believed to be true.
He didn’t hold back as an ardent hater trying to eradicate Christ followers, nor did he hesitate after his conversion in convincing people on the truth about Christ.
Yesterday, I visited the theater in Ephesus where Paul is believed to have taught.
Being passionate can make us purposeful, but not always for our own good.
Sometimes we have to step back from doing to just being.
There are times we have to let God do the fighting for us. Like my friend Carey wrote about when she discovered someone plagiarized her words.
Sometimes we have to slow down; not push ahead at full throttle. Sometimes other people have to tell us to be restrained.
We can be calm during the havoc.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Says Exodus 14:14
If Paul had weighed in, the rioting could have got worse. Then the Roman authorities would have been involved and Paul most likely would have been arrested.
Paul didn’t need to be at the front. In the end, the administrator in charge of the city got the crowd to calm down, halted the chaos, and dissolved the problem.
Paul stepped back and space was created for God to move in.
What do you believe in so strongly that you are willing to fight for it?
Is fighting the response that would honor God?
Who are the people in your life who remind you to be restrained in your response?
Are you in a situation where you need to let God fight for you?
What are the ways you can step back and create space for God to move?