Internal and external obstacles

When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”
- Acts 3:12

In last week’s devotionals, we saw God heal a man who had been born lame. Actually, we saw Peter speak to the man and help the man to his feet, which could now miraculously carry him leaping and dancing with joy. Onlookers might rightly wonder how this healing could happen.

Peter was eager to give credit to God for this miracle. Peter knew that this healing didn’t happen because of his own power or godliness. Instead he looked to give credit to God.

There’s a huge difference between taking credit and giving credit. When God’s people start taking credit for the good things happening in and around them, they come across as either self-righteous or unapproachable.

When we try to give credit to God for the good things happening around us, we sometimes encounter both internal and external obstacles. Internal obstacles fill our hearts and minds: pride, jealousy, shyness, fear, forgetfulness … all these keep us from giving credit to God.

And then there are the external obstacles: “Don’t force your religion on me” and “Don’t be such a holy-roller.”

We’ve found having a couple of go-to phrases help us to communicate credit to God without sounding obnoxious. When people give us compliments, we might say “the Lord has been generous” or “God has given me some great gifts” or “I like to think that God helped us/had something to do with that/is watching out for us.” These have been helpful to give credit to God while opening up a conversation rather than shutting it down.

What internal and external obstacles do you encounter when you try to give credit to Jesus for good things that are happening around you?

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