A Check-Up: How Is Your Confidence in Jesus?


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 8:1–8 (NIV)

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.


Did you pick up that curious line near the end of chapter 7? In case not, here it is.

“Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

Today, we meet the author of most of the New Testament books. He will later use a Roman name, Paul, but for today we will call him Saul. This story of Saul may be the most stunning story in all of the New Testament. At least it is the most unlikely. 

Does the name, Osama bin Laden ring a bell? How about Mohammad Emwazi (alias Jihadi John)? For all practical purposes, Saul was the first-century equivalent. He lived to destroy the church. Picture him, going from house to house, dragging fathers and mothers away as their children shrieked in tears of terror, never to see them again. Saul was nothing short of a first-century religious fundamentalist terrorist. He held the coats of the executioners at the public execution of Stephen. In twenty-first-century terms, he might be carrying the suicide vests.

Now, imagine the unimaginable: Osama Bin Laden becomes not only a follower of Jesus but his number one spokesperson! I’ll save the details for when it happens, but for now, it’s important for us to get very clear on who Paul used to be. In his mind, as in the mind of any religious fundamentalist terrorist, these heinous acts were nothing less than acts of divine worship.

We need to keep this story fixed in our minds because it reveals the incomprehensible power of the gospel of Jesus Christ not only to save but to completely transform a human being. True then. True now. This is perhaps the gospel case study of all case studies. It’s truly astonishing to think Paul would one day write these words: 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Rom. 1:16)

And speaking of case studies, are you waking up to your own life as a case study of the power of God? 

It feels like a moment to check in with each other. Are you waking up to the power of God in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit? Think about your own life for a minute. How are you being transformed? Where do you sense the most pressing need for the power of God in your life? What is your present confidence level in the power of God these days? 


Lord Jesus, I am your witness. 

I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness. 
I receive your love and release my selfishness. 

Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen.


Where is your level of confidence in the transformative power of Jesus Christ these days? Scale it—1 to 10 (10 is the highest). How about in your own life? Do realize those may be different numbers. 


Every day we sing a hymn together on the Wake-Up Call audio edition/podcast. Get your Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise at the Seedbed Store today.

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. I truly believe in the transformative power of Jesus Christ through the importation of His Spirit to all who believe. As for myself, I’m a work in progress. While I can see where the transformation of Saul is truly a newsworthy event, I believe that the bigger story in today’s text is how God used the persecution of the Church in Jerusalem to begin the evangelization of the rest of the world. One must wonder why it took this radical action on the part of the radical extremists of Judaism to facilitate the obedience to the Great Commission. Will something similar be required to move the institutional church in America to follow suit? I hope not.

  2. Bob..your post might be one of the most piercing ones I’ve read in a while.
    I’ve wondered, I’m sure many of us have wondered just what it WILL take to awaken the American church. Some believe the rapture will happen before we suffer much. In fact that was the teaching I received in the late 70s as a new believer. I NEVER heard the church would suffer persecution in the last days. But the scriptures speak that we will.
    We have certainly seen and heard many of our siblings in Christ taken to court for standing true to scripture in the last few years, and I feel they are the beginnings of many more. “Oh Abba Father, turn us back to You so the veils will be removed from our hearts and we surrender to the Spirit of the Lord, for THERE is real Freedom, and transformation will continue from one degree of glory to another AS we behold Your Glory(2 Corinthians 3:16-18.)

  3. Every step I take in obedience to and reliance on the risen Jesus increases my confidence level in Him! Subjectivity seldom matches reality. Objectivity does. What Jesus says and does in me makes me marvel at His amazing objectivity. Frequently gathering to be Spirit-led enables Christians to be immersed in the culture, language, and objectivity of God’s kingdom.

    Let the wall
    Around your heart
    Begin to fall.
    It’s way too tall.
    Then you’ll be
    Able to hear
    God’s call.

    Casually socializing, just hanging out with people, lacks the power of openly connecting heart-to-heart. Cultivate purity in your heart so you can plant and harvest seeds of hope in yourself and others.

    Christ’s ekklesia begins to function when His followers open their heart to Him and to one another. Let’s gather to encounter, rely on, and actively obey the living Jesus, not to be an audience. Let the living Jesus take active control of the mike, the pulpit, the podium, the program, the platform, and you’ll be amazed by what he does in and thru ordinary people!

    Church needs to be more than a sermon dispenser. How about opening the mike for people to testify as prompted by God’s Spirit?

    Why don’t Christians have more confidence in Jesus? Perhaps it’s because we have conformed to the world instead of to the culture of the kingdom of God.

    To a culture
    Of corruption
    Leads to consternation
    And self-condemnation.

  4. The persecution of the church started in the garden. It will end with a new heaven and new earth.

    Revelation 21
    21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

    Until then, we fight the good fight of faith, for one soul at a time, including our own, when the evil one strikes.

    2 Timothy 6:12
    Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

    Staying 💪’ n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

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