I want to continue with some thoughts from my Sunday recap blog on Acts 12.
Earnestly means urgency with sincerity.
The thing we struggle with in life is why do answers to earnest prayers surprise us? Why when what we desire earnestly happens are we surprised? I want to give you a couple of reasons from this passage in the Bible.
First…We are conditioned more by our circumstances than by our convictions.
It is natural. It is true of each and every one of us. This reality is why more and more our culture rejects the existence of God. See faith is being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see. Circumstances are what we see and touch and feel. Convictions are what we believe and hope and dream.
It is fortitude of faith that allows a person to live a life more conditioned by conviction than by circumstance. This life is not the average life. The average life is conditioned by the circumstances. Convictions give way to circumstances. Passion gives way to practical. Dreams die in the face of duties.
See this group of people were living in great persecution. Why would the expect Peter to actually be delivered? That was not their circumstance eventhough it was their conviction.
Second…Our expectations are too often defined by our experiences.
Most of us hope to experience something we have not. Most people are hoping they will see more in life than they have already seen. More success…more love…more joy…more experiences…more friendship. Yet too often, we don’t actually expect it to happen because we have not experienced it already.
If you will live earnestly you will be urgently sincere about expectations of great things. If you live earnestly you will be sincerely urgernt about seeking out the great things you expect.
So here is the test…the earnest test…the test to define whether or not your are living a life fashioned by circumstance or by conviction.
It is the is not or will be test.
Is what “is not” true about your life determining what “will be” true about your life…OR
Is what “will be” true about your life determining what “is not” true about your life?
What “is not” does not have to become what “will be” if what “will be” determines what “is not.”