Acts 26:12-18 ERV tells of the great conversion of Paul; “One time the leading priests gave me permission and the authority to go to the city of Damascus. On the way there, at noon, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun. It shined all around me and those traveling with me. We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice talking to me in Aramaic. The voice said, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are only hurting yourself by fighting me.’
“I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus. I am the one you are persecuting. Stand up! I have chosen you to be my servant. You will tell people about me—what you have seen today and what I will show you. This is why I have come to you. I will keep you safe from your own people and from the non-Jewish people, the ones I am sending you to. You will make them able to understand the truth. They will turn away from darkness to the light. They will turn away from the power of Satan, and they will turn to God. Then their sins can be forgiven, and they can be given a place among God’s people—those who have been made holy by believing in me.’”
This morning as I read the words, “You’re only hurting yourself by fighting me!” I thought, how are we fighting you, God? The answer to that came quickly, “By not doing what I ask you to, not living the way I created you to live, not being a light in the world around you, and not setting yourself apart to be different from the world. My people were never meant to blend in, but to stand out. They think they can get the benefits without obedience. They want the good stuff I offer without any commitment to be wholly mine.”
Paul was totally and completely sold out! Everything he endured, he simply found a way to learn and grow from, then share it with others. In prison, beaten, shipwrecked, you know his story, yet he was able to write letters of his deep revelation that we are still learning from today. Where did this begin? From seeing Jesus. That one blinding experience, seeing the glory of God, changed him completely, forever. Revelation does that.
If Paul were alive today, he would more than likely write a letter to us asking why we’ve turned away from our first love. Why Jesus is an after thought instead of our first thought. He would remind us that a life ‘sold out’ to the cause of Christ, doesn’t mean holding some of our lives in reserve for ourselves.
Perhaps that’s the distinction between Paul and us; We’ve yet to have deep revelation of Jesus and all that was accomplished by His death and resurrection. Our own ‘Damascus road’ experience wasn’t impactful or revealing enough for us. We truly think we can have our own life, do our own thing and still squeak past the Pearly Gates.
I believe that God has so much more for us, but the only way to access this abundant life is by dying to self. I believe that once we see who Jesus really is and what he completed for us on the cross, it will change us from pathetic to powerful, from losers to winners, from poor to rich. People can beat us with their words but it won’t affect our princely posture. Kings and priests would emerge because that’s who we REALLY are! He doesn’t merely live, HE LIVES IN US!
Father, as You gave Your Son for me, I give my life to You. What You planted in the ground has sprung forth to bear much fruit in the earth. More sons. More to love. More to give love. Sons who are sold out to Your cause, to see the world as soil to plant more seeds of love. May I not reject one opportunity to love others as You loved me. Make me a true lover. Teach me to love like You. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen