Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Surprising Response

Scripture: Acts 9:10-16
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Insights: At this point in the text the historical emphasis changes to another character in the story.  Ananias is a believer and he has heard of Saul’s murderous intentions; and yet, the Lord has just told him to go and visit this man.  I have titled this Thought by Scott as A Surprising Response and have done so because I think if Jesus came to a Christian today and given this command, most of us would have not complied with the commission.  We would have made the same excuses Ananias made, but at the end of the day we would have chosen rebellion instead of obedience as he did.  We would have said the cost was too great and the task to challenging.  I believe the reason for this cowardly response, by the way, of which I am all too often guilty, is because we have left our first love, Jesus Christ.  We no longer understand the cost of discipleship, to quote the title of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic work on what it means to be a Christ-follower.  Beloved, let me again challenge you to not let your moments of obedience be surprising to a watching world, but rather let your actions be stalwartly pointing to the hope of your salvation, Jesus Christ.  May your actions of obedience bring our Lord glory, honor and praise.

1.  Is God surprised when you choose to obey Him?
2.  Or, is it your natural response and it brings a smile to His face?

Prayer: Father, I know that Your love for me is not dependent upon my actions or my obedience.  Your love is unconditional, but just like with an earthly father, it blesses Your heart when Your children live in a way that honors You and that is displayed through obedience.  Help me, O Lord, to live a life like this for You.  Amen.

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