No follower of Jesus has advanced the Kingdom of God more than a Christian hating, persecuting Pharisee who was on a mission “to kill the Lord’s followers.” (Acts 9:1)
What changed him from persecutor to proclaimer? He came face to face with the risen Christ Himself.
As [Saul] was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”Acts 9:3–5
“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!
And by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, the persecutor became the proclaimer . . . Paul.
I often think about the assignment Jesus then gave to Ananias. A task that required supernatural strength to trust God’s will…
“Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul.”Acts 9:11
Go to the infamous Saul and lay “hands on him so he can see again.” (Acts 9:12b)
Can you imagine?
I must admit, I understand Ananias’ desire to find a way out. Especially when the Lord included this…
“Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”Acts 9:15b–16
But the next verse says:
Ananias went and found Saul.Acts 9:17
The Life Application Bible Notes say:
God calls us to commitment, not to comfort. He promises to be with us through suffering and hardship, not to spare us from them.
And He promises to give us the courage and strength to trust and obey His more difficult asks. The One who was with Paul and Ananias . . . is with you and me today.
A Prayer for the Life-Changing Strength to Trust God’s Will
Lord, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Saul to experience seeing You in Your glory and hearing Your voice. When I read the words, “and he fell to the ground,” I’m not surprised. What an instantly humbling experience. One that completely turned this prideful Christ denying Pharisee into a sin-confessing, surrendered follower with a heart’s desire to trust and obey. That’s a life changed by Your grace. Thank you for changing mine.
Oh, to have faith like Ananias. I love his honest prayerful conversation with You and that even in the face of danger, He trusted You to be with him and give him strength. I’m blessed knowing that You gave him the courage to obey and the strength to trust Your will.
I am so thankful that You have changed my life with Your love. My heart’s desire is to obey You and to have the courage and strength I need to trust You and go wherever You ask. Give me all I need to live fully committed to sharing the message of Your love, trusting that You will be with me through any suffering or difficulty. Thank you, Lord. I am so very blessed by Your grace, mercy, and love. Amen.
God used the Apostle Paul to share Good News about Jesus with the entire Roman Empire. And still today, lives are being touched and transformed by the letters the Spirit inspired him to write.
Almost 50% of the books in the New Testament were written by the Apostle Paul and the Spirit has used them to transform lives generation after generation.
On today’s note write:
Jesus will give me the strength I need to trust His will.
God bless you today as you surrender your life to Jesus and proclaim His love to others.
Click here to read the rest of Acts 9.
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