19 August 2010 10:24:10

As we pray and become sensitive to God’s voice, we can become partners with whom God works to build a glorious Church!

The story of Lydia contains important principles for our spiritual understanding. It highlights the wonderful way in which the sovereignty of God merges with the responsibility of man.

The all-powerful God has committed Himself, and to a certain extent limited Himself, to working with frail men and women to achieve His purposes here on earth.

For example, on two occasions Jesus told the disciples where to cast their nets in order to catch fish. Both times the nets were near to breaking with record catches. Without Jesus' knowledge, the disciples would have caught no fish and, without casting their nets, Jesus' instructions would have been unfruitful.

Lydia's conversion to Christianity is a perfect example of God working with us in an evangelistic setting.

Jesus always sought not just to teach his disciples academic truth but to actually involve them in the work he was doing. When he fed the five thousand, Jesus used the disciples to give the food to the crowd after blessing it, and on other occasions He sent them out in advance to prepare villages for His arrival.

The great commission to go into all the world and preach the good news was accompanied with the promise that Jesus and His power would go with them (Matt. 28:18–20).

There are some interesting verses which open windows of understanding to this complementary partnership. Mark 16:20 records that "the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it". Acts 2:47 informs us that "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

As the disciples opened their mouths and preached the good news, God touched people's hearts and they became Christians.

As the disciples prayed for the sick, God touched people's bodies and they were healed. God truly "worked with them".

Lydia lived in Philippi, which was located in Macedonia. Paul had intended to preach in a number of places but God instructed him not to do so. Finally Paul was given a vision to go to Macedonia, so he went to Philippi

He decided to find a place of prayer where there could be people who genuinely desired to worship and know God. There, Paul preached the message of salvation through faith in Jesus.

Just as Paul had been guided by God to that time and place, Lydia’s path had also been directed to the same time and place. She was a woman who sincerely sought God: and God opened her heart to respond to Paul's message (Acts 16:14).

God in His sovereignty guided both Paul and Lydia to an appointment of eternal destiny.

Paul faithfully obeyed God's directions and boldly preached the gospel. Lydia sought God and chose to respond to the message, repent of her sins and receive Jesus as her Saviour.

Here we clearly see the beautiful way in which God works with us in order to make Himself known. His responsibility is to guide our paths: ours is to be obedient and faithfully share the gospel as He creates opportunities for us.

Every new person we meet could be someone whose heart the Lord has opened to receive the good news of Jesus.

Paul later wrote to the church at Corinth that God gives us seeds, we plant and water them and then God makes things grow (1 Cor. 2:3,5–9).

As we pray and become sensitive to God’s voice, we can become partners with whom God works to build a glorious Church!

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