Get Up and Go or Run
By Lisa Bell
The angel spoke to Philip. “Instead of going with the others to Jerusalem, go south to that desert road leading to Gaza”. “Wait”! An angel spoke to this man and that didn’t faze him. Throughout the Bible angels often said “don’t be afraid” when people saw them, but not in this case. In fact, Luke mentioned the angel almost in passing…as if nothing special happened that day.
Common or not, Philip went, no questions, no hesitation, just simple obedience. A eunuch traveled that very road. A man seeking God waited although neither man knew about the other. When Philip saw the chariot, the Holy Spirit told him, “approach and stick to this chariot”. When the angel spoke, he got up and went, but when he heard the Spirit, he ran. The eunuch read scripture aloud, but Philip learned that only when he drew near the chariot. Still he obeyed the promptings of the Lord.
What an awesome opportunity God bestowed on this early Christian as he walked in obedience and faith. He taught the eunuch about Jesus and then enjoyed the privilege of baptizing him. Then the Spirit caught up with Philip and defying every law of time and space transported the man to an entirely different place. He ended up in another city far away from his original destination and God continued using him all along the way to set people free spiritually and in many cases physically.
While daily visitations from an angel might catch me off guard, how many times has the Holy Spirit prompted me and I ignored His voice? Better yet, how many times have I questioned Him? “Did I really hear what I think You just said, Lord? Let me search my Bible to make sure.” While I sometimes needed confirmation or clarification from the Word, I missed many opportunities due to a lack of simple obedience. As I read this passage, found in Acts 8:26-40, one thing became overwhelmingly clear. Philip obeyed because he walked closely to the Lord. He needed no time pondering over instructions because he fully knew his purpose – share Jesus with everyone. He listened and obeyed. He taught about Jesus, and alongside men like Peter, John, Paul, and Barnabus. He encouraged and strengthened believers so that they grew in faith. Those believers, in turn, repeated the process.
Jesus commissioned every believer to this same purpose just before he ascended into Heaven. In 2,000 years that purpose has never changed. I sought “my purpose for being in this world” when all along His Word rang like a bell peeling across a land of people hungry for Truth and a touch from Christ.
While God has not gifted me as an evangelist, He empowered me with influence over a few and chose other talents and gifts for me. I can share my personal experience with Jesus through any open door He places before me. Whether I impart Christ for the first time or encourage spiritual growth, I need open eyes and a willing heart. Like Phillip, I want uninhibited faith to the purpose for which He called me…a willingness to get up and go or break into a dead-out run.