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My Life as Apollos—A Spiritual Autobiography

 

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION

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 18:24–28

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.

CONSIDER THIS

Apollos impressed people. He had a good résumé.

He was an Alexandrian Jew.
He was a learned man.
He had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
He had been taught the “way of the Lord.”
He spoke with great fervor and acclaim.
He taught about Jesus accurately.
He brought bold preaching to the synagogue.

He had one glaring liability: He only knew the baptism of John.

My sense of the text is Apollos did not know or had not yet encountered the Holy Spirit.

If we are missing a living experience of the Holy Spirit, all the qualifications in the world will not matter. You can be impressive, a great communicator, a sought-after speaker, and still miss the mark. When you think about it, one through seven above are all qualities or qualifications within our own sphere of control. The Holy Spirit will be controlled by no one.

The good thing is we don’t have to choose one or the other; until we do. One through seven are important. The Holy Spirit is essential.

Thank God for the Priscillas and Aquillas who will quietly pull us aside, invite us into their home, and explain the ways of God to us more adequately. I have known and been blessed by more than a few of them in my life. 

I lived the life of Apollos for a long time. I checked all those boxes. It was all I knew. I did and had all the important things but was missing the essential thing. In fact, I didn’t know what I didn’t know—until I started taking Scripture seriously. I began to notice a gap between what the Scriptures were saying and what I was experiencing; especially as related to the Holy Spirit. It was at that point I contracted the Spirit-borne disease (dis-ease) known as Holy Discontent.

I began to realize I was serving people to the extent it served me. I began to notice how people were impressed with me, yet they were not impacted through me. The discontent became like a splinter in my soul. Though I wanted my discontent to give way to glorious spiritual experience, I learned the road to blessedness must pass through the wilderness of brokenness which I had fiercely avoided.

In short, I began to get real about my real life, the lies I believed, and the strategies I devised to make it all work. The Spirit unveiled for me an insecurity well beneath the surface of my well-constructed image; an insecurity borne of a deep and painful inferiority. From there proceeded the long healing journey and transformational exchange of a false image for a true identity. Image impresses. Identity impacts. And when we show the wound, Jesus heals the world. There’s so much more to say, and I hope someday to share it with you. The journey is far from complete with me. I’m a lot further than where I used to be, but I’m yet a long way from where I long to be. 

THE PRAYER 

Lord Jesus, teach us to pray.

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.
I receive your true identity and release my false image. 

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.

THE JOURNAL PROMPTS

On a scale from 1–10 with 10 being the highest, how would you rate your own experience of holy discontent these days? Have you befriended and broken into your brokenness or are you still running from it (i.e., what brokenness?)? 

THE HYMN

Today we will sing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” (hymn 116) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here.

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

3 Responses

  1. When someone has a good education, extensive Bible knowledge, religious fervor, and talks accurately and boldly about Jesus, is anything missing from their Christian faith? According to the Bible, that’s not enough. Jesus said: “Apart from Me you can do nothing?” It’s vital that Christians stay consciously aware of “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” and continually surrender to being “led (controlled) by the Spirit”? The stories of Apollos in the Bible, Wesley at Aldersgate, and Walt in today’s Wake-Up Call illustrate that. Does your story, too?

  2. In regards to my own restoration, (Spiritual formation into the image of Christ) I’d rate myself maybe a four or five on a scale of one to ten. In my opinion, two key lessons are revealed in today’s Wake-up call. First of all, a disciple lacking the power of the Spirit, is like a perfectly restored classic car without an engine, lots of external beauty, but not going anywhere. Secondly, we like Apollos, all require other more mature believers in our lives of Spiritual formation in order to mentor us into the mature stature of Christ. I believe that we currently lack a sufficient supply of Spiritual formation small groups needed to facilitate the next Great Awakening. Along with praying for the Lord of the harvest to send more workers, we need to be praying for more of these types of Spiritual formation groups as well.

  3. As we would see next week in Acts chapter 19, Apollos was not the only one back who had not encountered the Holy Spirit (see Acts 19:1-3). As it was then, so it is now. Many around us have not come to an experiential knowledge of the Spirit – some don’t even believe we need the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, Apollos demonstrated humility and a teachable spirit and because he was open to learning more, Priscilla and Aquilla who had been mentored by Paul were able to explain to him “the way of God more adequately.” The more I present myself at the feet of Jesus, the more the Holy Spirit reveals to me my spiritual poverty and tells me to let go of what I think I already know so I can learn new things. Thanks JDW for your vulnerability. Not many would admit what you did in the post. But it is in our weakness that we more powerfully experience God’s strength. Grace and peace!

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