“And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” (Acts 17:2, ESV)
Some people are so predictable. You know what they will do because that’s what they always do. When one friend visits, I can predict that shortly after she wakes up, she will be in the kitchen pouring Diet Coke in her glass. Another friend always takes her shoes off at the door, even though it’s not really a custom at my house. And then there’s the friend who is predictably late—and has a very predictable excuse ready to offer.
While reading Acts 17, it immediately became apparent that the apostle Paul was predictable. Wherever he went in his travels, it was his custom to immediately locate the local Jewish synagogue. Then he would begin to share the message of Jesus with them. If they were unreceptive, he would find someone who was. It was his habit to spread the gospel wherever he went. (And, no, that’s not just a preacher thing—it’s a Christian thing.)
If we go back one chapter to Acts 16, we find things had not gone well. In fact, Paul and Silas had been beaten before ending up in a Philippian jail. When they left Philippi for Thessalonica (chapter 17), it would have been so easy to say, “Well, we don’t want that to happen again. Let’s skip the synagogue and back off on this preaching thing for a while.” We know that is not what happened. It wasn’t Paul’s custom to back off and choose the easy path. The difficulty of the situation did not influence his actions. He kept on doing what he always did—reaching for the lost.
In II Timothy 3:10, Paul says, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness” (ESV). In other words, they knew his habits, his persistence in reaching the lost. They knew his customary actions wherever he might travel. It was part of his Christian DNA.
What about us? What are our habits as a child of God? Are we predictable in our faithfulness in attending church, our fervency in prayer, our practice of studying God’s Word? Do we make it a priority to reach out to the hurting and the lost? What characteristics, practices, or habits would our friends list if describing our Christian walk?
In his first epistle to Timothy, Paul admonished his friend and fellow worker to, “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12, ESV). If I’m going to be predictable, these are characteristics I want to display in my life. I’d like my friends to say, “That’s her custom. She’s predictable that way.”
Lord, I want my life to be one of faithfulness and dependability. I want to live in such a manner that others will recognize Your Spirit at work in my life. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I want to live in a way that glorifies Your name and brings others to a knowledge of you.