What kept those first followers of Christ going? Scripture says they never stopped. Even as the opposition against them grew, the fire in their belly only burned brighter.
As I read the book of Acts, it’s clear that the early believers kept their momentum because they relied more and more on the Holy Spirit, not less. They never got to the point where they said, “Ok, God, we’ll take it from here.” Not for a minute. They knew their enemy.
Oh Satan tried. He pulled out all the tricks in his book to slow down the momentum. Remember how he played on Ananias and Sapphira’s greed and hypocrisy? After selling some land, the couple conspired to keep some of the profit for themselves and present the rest to the apostles as if it was the total amount. “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…?” Peter questioned Ananias. Satan tried to infuse the church with a little deceit, knowing it would eventually pollute the whole body. But his scheme backfired. Both Ananias and Sapphira fell dead when the Holy Spirit exposed them and the church catapulted into a new realm of reverence for God (Acts 5:1-11).
If Satan could not corrupt the church from within, maybe external pressure would halt the progress. This time he played on the jealousy of the Jewish leaders. The high priest had the apostles arrested, but during the night the Holy Spirit sent an angel to release them. So rather than slowing them down, their imprisonment and supernatural delivery drove them even more “day after day” (Acts 5:19-42).
If we hope to maintain the momentum in our personal lives, in our churches and in our witness to the world, our need for the Holy Spirit can’t be overstated. We have an enemy who continues to play upon our weaknesses—and others’—to stop us. Only through the Spirit of God can we keep him from succeeding.
Are you struggling to keep the fire burning? Ask the Holy Spirit to stoke up the coals of intimacy with God. Rely on him for everything. Then keep going, my friend.