Battle Arms – May 13, 2024

Read: Acts 6:1-9; 7:2,51-60

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”
Acts 7:51

Battle Arms

Family Devotion – May 13, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 7:51

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ask two family members to set up an arm wrestling match. Face each other, clasp hands, and get ready to battle.

What do you notice about the arms of the two wrestlers as they prepare for battle? Are they limp like noodles? Or stiff and ready to press against the opponent?

The battle-ready arms of these wrestlers are like our human hearts before the Holy Spirit does his work. The Bible tells us that the human heart is naturally hostile to God (Romans 8:7). That means our hearts are hardened, stiff, and always resisting what God says to us.

In today’s Bible reading, a godly man named Stephen, led by the Holy Spirit, addresses the people around him who were resisting God’s message. He calls them “stiff-necked” because that’s what an animal does when refusing a command. They were arguing with Stephen—so determined to fight that they completely missed God’s message that Stephen was trying to deliver.

Does this kind of stubbornness ever happen in your heart? Think about these examples:

• Your parents are trying to point out your wrong behavior, to guide you to admit your wrong, and you turn away in a huff.
• You know you should apologize for something you did to your sister, but instead, you point out all the reasons why she deserved what you did.
• You know you should willingly do the chores assigned to you, but you’d rather list all the reasons why your brother should do them instead.

In these situations, and perhaps others, you are battling against God’s will. You would rather be right than listen to what God is trying to tell you through your parents. You are stiff against the grace he gives you when you mess up. Just like the stiff-necked people in Stephen’s day.

We all—parents and kids alike—are stiff-necked when it comes to God. It’s the natural result of sin living in us. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. Every time we hear God’s Word, the Holy Spirit works to soften our hard hearts. He reminds us who the enemy is. It’s not God—he is on our side! He gives us forgiveness for our sins and arms us with the power to fight against sin.

Let’s pray for soft hearts.

Closing Prayer:

Holy Spirit, forgive us when we fight against you. Please soften our hearts so we can hear your Word and understand what you are trying to tell us. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean to be stubborn?
  • What does your heart feel like when you know you are forgiven by Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Recount the last time your heart was hardened against your parents or another person in authority.
  • What tool does the Holy Spirit use to soften our hearts?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Have you ever found yourself resisting God or his Word? What were you going through in your life when that happened?
  • How does the Holy Spirit arm us for battle against the real enemy?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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