Lord, my hope is in You.
As I commit myself to Your Word,
May I be transformed to be more like You.
Focus of the Month: Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Hope
Lydia is a woman introduced to us in the New Testament. A career woman who made time to worship, Lydia hoped in and trusted God. Let’s read the story of her encounter with the Gospel in Acts 16:13-15:
On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.
Lydia met with women by the river to worship God. Clearly she believed in God because she prayed to Him and worshiped Him publicly. Not having heard about Jesus yet, she would have been a Jewish believer of God. Therefore, she was awaiting the coming of the Messiah. Her hope was in God – that He would fulfill His promises in the Old Testament scriptures.
This passage also reveals that Lydia was a merchant of expensive cloth. A professional saleswoman in Biblical times! It reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman. Verses 17-19 say, “She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.”
Lydia worked a career and still made time to keep God a priority in her life. When Paul showed up on that riverbank that Sabbath day, sharing the Gospel – the Good News – the truth of Jesus Christ, Lydia’s heart of hope, faith and trust believed the message Paul shared – that Jesus IS the Messiah.
But it didn’t stop there! Lydia and her entire household received Jesus as their Savior and they all were baptized. She and her household were saved! Further, Lydia insisted that Paul and his fellow travelers stay at her home.
That Sabbath day, Lydia went from Hope for the Messiah, to Faith in the words Paul preached to her, to Acting on what she believed. She became transformed into a new person by changing the way she thought. And then her actions completed her faith.
As we hope in the word of God and grow in faith, our actions will align with the goodness of God and His perfect love. When we believe with our hearts and say with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, we receive His salvation. In an instant, we are rescued from darkness and transferred into His Light …not that we will be able to do everything completely in His perfect will in that instant – although nothing is impossible with Him – but, we WILL be transformed as we increase in our knowledge of who He is. From faith to faith, we will become more like Him.
Be encouraged by the life of Lydia, and her progression from hope to faith to actions. This busy business woman worshiped God, believed the Gospel, and responded in faith. She and her entire household received salvation, and then she opened her home to serve others. We, too, as we commit our lives to God, grow in our knowledge of Christ, and believe His word, can respond by advancing from hope to faith to action.
Scripture References: Acts 16:13-15, 31; Proverbs 31:17-19; Romans 12:2; James 2:2; Romans 10:10; Colossians 1:13; Luke 1:37; Romans 1:17; 1 Peter 4:8-9.