Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Lydia . . . listened, and the Lord opened her heart

Lydia . . . listened, and the Lord opened her heart. (Acts 16:14)

Praying at the river’s edge in Philippi, Lydia probably didn’t realize that she was also in the path of a second river—a stream of God's grace! One of the worshippers present on that Sabbath was the apostle Paul, and the message he shared about Jesus changed her life dramatically.

Lydia’s story is a beautiful example of what conversion looks like. Conversion is a transformation with two main ingredients: grace from God and our response to his grace. Lydia certainly received an outpouring of grace that day. It appeared in the form of a messenger—Paul. Through his words, Lydia heard about Jesus, and as she kept listening, “the Lord opened her heart” (Acts 16:14). Today, we might say that she was “deeply touched” by the message. She was moved by grace!

But Lydia didn’t just receive grace; she responded to it. She listened intently to the message, and as she felt her heart being moved, she asked to be baptized. She probably shared her experience with her household as well, because they too were baptized. This is the pattern of conversion: God gives his grace, we respond, and the result is a powerful transformation.

The best part of conversion is that God wants us to continue experiencing it for the rest of our lives. He wants this pattern of grace, response, and transformation to keep happening, because there are always areas in our lives that need a greater shift toward the direction of Jesus.

This type of “ongoing conversion” can happen anytime and anywhere. Often, as in Lydia’s case, the Lord opens our hearts as we’re praying or as we are listening to a “messenger” like the Scriptures or the words of a friend. Whenever we sense Jesus calling us to make a change in how we think or act, we can be sure he is offering us grace so that we can take his words deeper into our hearts and respond.

Lydia stepped into the river of God’s grace on that Sabbath, and she let it take her deeper and deeper into his love. May we do the same!

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