Together in Christ: 'Spiritually Addressing Problems Leads to Growth' — Acts 6:6-7

Monday, August 21, 2023

These seven [spiritual qualified men selected by the people] were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

So God's message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

— Acts 6:6-7 NLT

Key Thought

Most of us — and yes, even most Christian leaders — avoid trials and problems like the plague. We see them as something awful and unwanted, sent by Satan and detrimental to our people, our church's growth, and the strength of our faith. The teaching of Scripture [1] and the examples in the book of Acts suggest the opposite. [2] Problems that surface in our churches help us address issues before they destroy the character and fellowship of our people. Trials can refine and challenge us to return to the mission Jesus called us to fulfill. [3]

The problems presented by the widows who didn't speak Hebrew being neglected bless the church in at least three ways:

  1. When they addressed this problem in spiritually healthy ways, the church grew and even reached people — Jewish priests — who had not been able to lead to Jesus.
  2. As they addressed this problem maturely and spiritually, they surfaced new leaders. These new leaders helped the apostles stay on task with their Jesus-ordained responsibilities and also discovered gifted leaders like Stephen and Philip.
  3. As they addressed a problem related to discrimination related to orthodox Judaism and cultural differences, they gained valuable experience. They also learned the importance of being the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and the multi-cultural church Jesus called them to become.

Jesus commissioned His disciples to go to all nations and people to invite them to become full children of God, born into God's family by the power of the Holy Spirit. [4] They had to build their muscles of inclusion and fellowship slowly, but they eventually reached the point where Paul could unequivocally say:

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. [4]

Christian leaders and churches shouldn't seek trials or create problems. However, when cultural differences, missional faithfulness, or the evil one place problems and difficulties in our path, we must address them. Thankfully, Acts 6:1-7 reminds us not to run from addressing those trials and difficulties. When we properly handle them with grace and faithfulness to God's character to accomplish Jesus' mission for us, the Holy Spirit uses trials and problems to grow us and mature us, so we are ready for the upcoming great opportunities that lie ahead! Let's encourage our leaders to face problems and trials with this attitude, rather than a sense of denial, fear, or avoidance. Praise God; the Holy Spirit can empower us to grow past our trials and problems!

[1] James 1:2-4.
[2] Acts 8:1-8.
[3] Interestingly, the martyrdom of Stephen scattered the believers to places Jesus had originally told them to reach with the Good News (Acts 1:7-8), and the problems with the neglected widows (Acts 6:1-7) empowered Philip as a leader who was instrumental in the inclusion of Samaritans and the expansion of the early church.
[4] Galatians 3:26-29.

Today's Prayer

Ah, glorious Father, thank you for loving all people and wanting us to reach them with the Good News of Jesus and your glorious reign in people's hearts. Forgive us for our failure and procrastination to reach the unsaved. Holy Spirit, please stir our hearts with the Savior's love for the lost and broken around us. Open our eyes to our opportunity among the nations to reach those hungry for Jesus. And, dear Father, if we are lax, lazy, or indifferent about our mission, we fully accept the trials and problems that may come as opportunities to refine us, call us to repentance, and restore us to Your mission in the world. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Timothy 3:1-13
  • Acts 13:1-3


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Illustration of Acts 6:6-7 NLT — These seven [spiritual qualified men selected by the people] were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

So God's message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.