An “Opened” Heart

In Acts 16, after spending a few days in Philippi, Paul finds a woman named Lydia just outside the city. She is “a seller of purple fabrics” who gathered at the riverside with others to pray and worship (Acts 16:13-14). She was a convert to Judaism who had not heard the gospel but was trying to live a life faithful to God. As Paul spoke to the women gathered, Lydia listened, and as she listened, “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14).

Lydia’s heart was opened by the Lord, through hearing the word of God. As she “was listening,” the words spoken by Paul had a heart-changing effect; this is what God’s word can do (Acts 2:37; Hebrews 4:12).

Lydia’s heart was involved in her obedience. The text tells us that she “respond[ed] to the things spoken by Paul (Acts 16:14). Obeying the gospel requires more than physically doing or saying the right things. Becoming a Christian and obeying God requires a continual act of the heart.

Paul’s message and Lydia’s response both included baptism. We know what Paul preached because we see how Lydia obeyed. “She and her household” were “baptized” after hearing Paul’s message (Acts 16:15). Any conversion to God requires a change of heart and an
obedient baptism.

Matt Langfield