A couple of weeks ago, I was at The Well (a worship and prayer gathering) and was praying that God would ‘open my eyes’ and give me a ‘spirit of wisdom and revelation’ (Ephesians 1:17). At that moment, a friend came up and shared that he had been praying for me, and a series of impressions came to mind.
As I was praying, I saw an image of a phone that had a translating app on it so that you could hold it up to a sign or menu etc. in a foreign country and it would translate the content into English. Then I saw a picture of a pair of glasses that the Lord wanted to give to Bart. I asked what the glasses were and my impression was the Lord saying, “Bart needs to wear these glasses and they will translate what ‘success in the Kingdom’ is. Without these glasses, he will focus on what the world’s definition of success is rather than mine.”
I pondered and prayed into that. One night I couldn’t sleep and got up and began looking through the Gospels with the question, “What was success in the eyes of the Gospel writers? What did they find significant?” Then I turned to Acts with the same question.
My attention was captivated by how the early church focused on the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, prayer, living generously, blessing those in need, and praising God (Acts 2:42-47). When they focused on those things, then God “gave them favor with the people and added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
The early church in Acts 4: 28–31 prayed for boldness to share Jesus and for healing, signs, and wonders. God responded with pouring out the Spirit in power. Again God responded in Acts 5:12–16 with signs, wonders, favor, healing, more people believing in Jesus, and people being freed from unclean spirits.
In Acts 6:1–7, this same pattern occurs in the believing community—loving people well, serving others as God has gifted them, devotion to prayer, and the ministry of the Word. God’s response was that the number of the disciples multiplied greatly. SUCCESS! The people were faithful to do their small part. God was extravagant in bringing Kingdom success.
“Heavenly Father, empower us to live, pray, and love like the early church. Do incredible things that display your power and change people’s lives. Give us wisdom and skill to join in all that you long to do in and through us.” Amen.