By Pastor Shana Wise
Acts 16:16-34 (NIV)
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
“It is not about me, it is who I was created to be, and who is connected to me.”-Pastor Shana Wise
As Christians, we still have tendencies to act and behave like the world. Meaning we can have the attitude of it’s all about me, myself, and I. Some of the blessings that we receive can be good up until a certain point because, we place so much focus on ourselves and what we are going through, that we fail to realize the “Big Picture” of it all.
God never designed for us to be “lone ranger” Christians, rather, his blessings are designed for overflow and abundance.
God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to someone else.
Some of us “go through” so much, that when our victory comes, we just want to focus on ourselves, our situation, and our family. But the questions are: Do we share our testimony with others when God delivers us? Do we share our financial resources when God blesses us with money-so someone else can receive relief from their burdens?
We have to change our thinking as it relates to victory. If we are self-centered and an inward-focused individual, then when our temporary victory comes-it will yield limited results. Meaning you and yours will be the only ones blessed and no one else will be able to benefit from it.
However, when we live a lifestyle of being outwardly focused (thinking about others well-being), when our victory comes, it will not only impact our lives, and the lives of others, it will impact the Kingdom globally.
Victory is never about us-victory comes to bring God the glory, and all glory belongs to God.
Definition of Victory (www.dictionary.com) A success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.
You need more than one person to battle in a war. Many times, we fail to realize that the battle is not about us, we are connected to a Kingdom that is constantly battling on our behalf.
Our suffering, pain, bondage, go-through, etc., has a direct connection with the Kingdom that we cannot physically always see, but it strongly exists.
Many battles are won in the “small victories” in our spirit. Let us examine how Paul and Silas experienced victory through persecution.
The battle is not about you, it is about who you were called to be (purpose). (vs.16-24)
· Paul and Silas were on a missionary trip in Philippi (a providence of Rome). They were sharing the good news of the gospel of Christ.
· When you are walking in your God-given purpose you will experience spiritual warfare. Paul and Silas very presence in Philippi enticed a disturbance in the atmosphere of the town. The first church in Philippi was started by them, and because of the work of the Holy Spirit, they experienced persecution.
· The townspeople who mobbed and beat them had become use to the lifestyle of witchcraft, making money, and demonic influence running their city. Their mindset blinded them from seeing the good work of the Holy Spirit. They rather see a young girl be bound and possessed by a demon (to bring them riches), than to see her delivered and set free. They did not care about her, all they cared about was the economy of the town being funded by the things that are not of God.
· The trials and tribulations that we experience are directly related to our calling and our purpose. Paul and Silas were called to start churches in uncharted territory. God is calling us to let our light shine wherever He sends us. We must remember that darkness cannot comprehend the light-therefore we will experience persecution and tribulation.
Victory happens when the spirit overrides the flesh (vs. 25)
· True praise and worship happen when we can put our feelings, hurt, pain, offenses, etc., to the side and focus our total attention on God. Paul and Silas victory came not when the heavenly disturbance happened in the jailhouse (vs.26); rather their victory came when after the beating by the townspeople, they were still able to sing out loud and praise God!
· Psalms 137:4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? We can take a lesson from this verse and Paul and Silas. Often, we encounter some “strange” situations and circumstances in our lives. We experience hardships and we do understand why we are going through it. If we can still praise God in the midst of it, we will be able to experience heaven on earth. Meaning, God will supernaturally show up in the problem and turn it around for our good. We must not let the struggles of life make us forget how to praise the Lord. Do not let the enemy make us forget about the God we serve and the voice He gave us.
· The culture that we live in today has a heavy influence on self and self-centeredness. The spirit of vanity is running rampant in the world and it has crept into the church. Praise has become about me, myself, and I…my breakthrough….my deliverance…my blessing….my worship----what happened to the word “us”? That is why Jesus has to TEACH US HOW TO PRAY in Matthew 6. Prayer and praise along with worship were NEVER designed to be self-centered. All glory belongs to God. John 4:24 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Point 3 Victory produces fruit and it overflows to others (vs 26-34)
· The jailor and his family was saved through Paul and Silas trials and tribulations. Also, all the inmates who were locked up with them had an opportunity to witness the supernatural activities of heaven intercepting earth in prison (vs. 26).
· We will know if our prayers, praise, worship, and victory are self-centered or Kingdom-focused based on the fruit it produces.
· John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a doctor of divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
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