A Determined Dozen

Persistence is in seeking God. Paul would commend the true God to the Mars Hill bunch by noting their propensity to seek Him out: “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27). Still, pursuing God has its challenges; it is both an effort and a process. Some move faster than others and some struggle to wrap their brain around the facts as they appear, but the sincere seeker of God must be ready for the wonder of God’s revelation as it is revealed. The goal for the Christian is the gradual transformation from a child of the world to a child of God (Romans 12:1-2). It is a process.

One key element in this process is maturity. As one studies the word of God and becomes more proficient in understanding and applying it, the process of growth depends heavily upon how new knowledge is received and applied (Hebrews 5:13-14). Therefore, if during a study a dim light begins to dawn as another tid-bit of information becomes clear, there is an attendant obligation to do something with said information. For many, this is the critical point where the rubber meets the road. Do I apply the obvious at risk of sacrifice or do I ignore the plain message and continue unchanged? Or, do I just get angry and deny that it has any application to me? Such was the dilemma faced by a determined dozen at the preaching of Paul (Acts 19:7).

It was inevitable that Paul run into the circumstance described in Acts 19. Several men had been apprised of John’s preparatory message, a clarion

call to repentance in anticipation of the one whose sandal-strap John felt unqualified to loose (Mark 1:7). Recognizing truth when they heard it, they responded and were baptized unto the repentance of John’s baptism (ironically, with no hint of the fuss some people make today about the non-essential nature of baptism, as though it were some supposed meritorious work). However, when Paul questioned them about their conversion (often frowned upon by the ecumenical crowd), he discovered that their journey to God had not come through Jesus (John 14:6). Hence, dispatching all squeamishness concerning tact, he promptly told them that their response to the baptism of John was of no value and that they should be baptized into the name of Jesus. And, what did this determined dozen do? They obeyed the truth.

How do we respond to information that differs from, clashes with, or totally opposes the “way we’ve always done it” or “what we’ve always known”? Do we reach for the Sword of the Spirit ready to defend the truth, or do we fall back on traditions for which there exists no biblical foundation? Change is a part of the normal growth process. We are commanded to be “transformed by the renewing of (our) mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2b). One cannot transform in any fashion without embracing the truth and changing one’s self. This determined dozen did. Do you?