Some women can just walk in a room, not say much, but make their presence known. Such was a woman named Lydia in the Bible. Not much is mentioned of her, but from what we do know, she was a woman of power, purpose, and persistence. There are many good things to say about Lydia in the Bible and how she contributed greatly to the early church.
Who Was Lydia in the Bible?
Lydia was a very significant person in the book of Acts. She was the first Christian convert from the Roman city of Philippi in Macedonia. Because she was found honoring the Sabbath by the riverbank, she was probably Jewish. Lydia was a worshipper of God but had not yet heard the gospel. She also had her own business selling expensive purple cloth.
Out of the group of women by the riverbank, she is the one to whom God opened her heart to receive the Gospel message from Paul. Not only did she get baptized, but she also encouraged her household to get baptized.
After her baptism, she asked Paul, Timothy, Luke, and Silas to come and stay at her home and urged them until they agreed to her request. Because she was the first convert in her city, she also helped to establish and host the church there.
Meaning of Lydia in the Bible?
The name Lydia comes from the Greek word “ludia.” It is a name commonly given to females that has multiple meanings. It can either mean someone “from Lydia, Greece” or it can mean “noble one.”
Lessons From Lydia in the Bible
The following are several lessons we can learn from Lydia in the Bible.
Real faith results in obedience
During the time of Lydia, Paul and his team were fervently trying to spread the message of Jesus around the world as Jesus’ death and ascension were still fairly new and many people had not yet heard about him.
Even though Lydia worshiped God, she now needed to believe in Jesus as the way of salvation. When Paul preached the message to Lydia, she accepted the message and not only chose to get baptized out of obedience but also shared the message with her family who also got baptized.
Her conversion not only led to her outward expression of faith, but she already started to make disciples! When we truly come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we begin to do the things that Jesus says show of a life truly transformed.
It is God who does the inner work
Who can change someone’s heart to believe in Jesus? We can be the best and most persuasive orators, but unless God is working in a person’s heart, the message cannot convince anyone otherwise. It says that God opened up Lydia’s heart so that she was able to respond to Paul’s message.
We are God’s co-laborers. Our responsibility is to either plant or water the message of hope that we have in Christ and God is the one who makes it grow. Knowing this fact takes away the false burden that we are the ones to save people. We will do the outer work of making disciples and God will do the inner work of transforming hearts.
God’s people are the church
I love that Lydia’s group of women were found praying outside the city gate to the river. Not only were they praying outside of a church building, but they were praying in a public space.
If you are a Christian, you are part of the body called the church. That means wherever two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, church happens! You do not need to wait until a room opens up in a building or wait until you have the funds to rent a space.
Just like Lydia and her girls, go where you feel led by God. Start a small group in a park. Host weekly Bible studies in your home. Have a worship session on the beach. God’s church is never limited to a building.
Commit to praying
The Sabbath day is not just a day of rest from your ordinary work, but it is a day of intentional worship to the Lord. Lydia, being a business owner and mother, could have found any reason to be too busy to take the time to pray with her faith sisters.
But instead, she committed her precious time to commune with an even more precious God on her day of rest. Just like Lydia, we should be committed to praying not just by ourselves, but with our faith community.
Jesus is the only way
Although Lydia is described as a worshiper of God, she still needed to hear the message of salvation through faith in Christ alone. God desires obedience over sacrifice so there is no number of good deeds or religious practices we can do that will make ourselves right with God.
This understanding of grace is so important in growing in our own faith as well as bringing others into the right knowledge of becoming a Christian. Lydia could have continued worshipping God the way that she knew how, but she needed to receive and believe the new covenant of Jesus so that her worship of God would become true and personal.
Worshipping God is a lifestyle
It seems that Lydia applied her faith in every part of her life and not just on the days of Sabbath. For her to be a dealer of purple cloth (which in those days was sold only to the elite), meant that she had to be committed to excellence, hard work, and integrity.
These are just some of the traits that should mark the maturity of a Christian who allows their faith in God to influence how they work, how they play, what they say, and what they do. She also exhibited hospitality to Paul and his co-workers which showed that she willingly used her worldly wealth for God’s Kingdom purposes.
When every day and every way becomes an opportunity to live out your faith, then that is when true worship happens.
Story of Lydia in the Bible Summary
The mention of Lydia can be found in the New Testament book of Acts in the Bible. Her story starts in Acts chapter 16 verse 11 and ends in verse 15. While Paul and Silas were at a seaport of Troas, Paul gets a vision of a man from Macedonia pleading with him to come over to Macedonia to help them. So, they board a boat and eventually reach Philippi and stay there for several days.
During one of the Sabbath days that they were there, they went to a riverbank where they thought people would be meeting for prayer. They see some women gathered nearby and decide to sit and speak with them.
One of the women from the group was Lydia. As Lydia was listening to what Paul was saying, God opened her heart, and she accepted his message. She was baptized with other members of her household and convinced Paul and his companions to come to her home as guests.
Characteristics of Lydia in the Bible
Although what is mentioned about Lydia in the Bible is very brief, we can learn so much about the little that we know of her. She was a woman whose commitment to God showed in every area of her life, from being involved in a prayer group to exhibiting quality in her work.
Upon faith in Jesus, she immediately obeyed God by becoming baptized and already started making disciples by sharing the faith with her family who also got baptized. Lydia was a bold woman who did not conform to her patriarchal culture of how a woman should be but lived out her faith in an endearing and brave way.
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