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Acts 21 - Confident or Cocky?

How can you make the right decision when you get conflicting advice?

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Acts 21 Summary

As the missionary team heads back to Jerusalem, they've been visiting with members of the newly formed churches all along the way, and the advice they've been getting has been nearly unanimous: don't go back to Jerusalem.

Nonetheless, Paul & company do return, and once there they heed James' advice to show respect for Jewish cultural norms (read this post for more on why Paul was not being hypocritical in doing this even though he's been so adamant that the old legal traditions no longer need to be kept).

As predicted, once the bad guys realize Paul's in town, they pump in a bunch of fake news to work the crowd into a tizzy (a method still being used today with great effect), which ends with Paul being taken into custody for his own protection.

The chapter ends with a cliff hanger, as Paul is just opening his mouth to address his attackers.

Dig Deeper

Paul seems headstrong and even obstinate in his rejection of his friends' sincere advice that he not return to Jerusalem.

Yet Paul recognizes that this advice, while sincere, well intentioned, and even directly from the Holy Spirit, was not God telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem, it was simply a prediction of the pain he would endure in Jerusalem. So Paul followed his gut.

You will get all sorts of conflicting advice in your life, and much of it will be good advice, even though it may contradict seemingly good advice you got from another solid Christian friend. How can you know which advice to follow?

In his famous refusal to recant his writings, Martin Luther said this:

to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.

That doesn't sound right, does it. Aren't our consciences fickle and untrustworthy?

Yet guys like the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther had consciences that were so dialed in and aligned with God's will that they could trust their inner convictions completely.

You can have this same sort of self confidence as you navigate life by continuing to strengthen your conscience with a consistent diet of God's Word.

AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who created you to confidently serve Him

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you can sincerely say along with the elders accompanying Paul, "Let the will of the Lord be done!"




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