Thoughts from the Sycomore’s weekly reading of Acts 8-15…
Acts 9 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
I was reading a post by one of our elders on our weekly reading (from Acts 9 above) and I couldn’t help wondering to myself if there are any “Sauls” in my life? I used to put a lot of people in this category (including myself), but I came to realization that this is actually a very specific kind of person – in fact, they are quite unique individuals. They’re not every day Joes or Janes who are struggling with life or even faith. They’re actually quite gifted people (usually leaders in one way or another) who may even exhibit deep passion for God, but are rather misguided in their perception of Him and others who do not follow God in the same way that he or she does. We can add that whatever it is that these Sauls say may actually BE the truth and that these “truths” may be spot on. The problem is that these truths and the way that they are communicated are seeped in judgment and self-righteousness so that whatever is presented often seem “off” or just difficult to listen to – again, even though they’re actually correct.
As I wrote earlier, I used to think that before I embraced Christ into my life, that I fell into this category. The more I thought about it though, I realized that I didn’t. I was never against God. Nor was I against people who wanted to follow Him. I didn’t know enough about God or the faith to even “persecute” them. If anything, I was simply down on myself. As I continued to contemplate this and the specific characteristics of these “Sauls,” I made a very disturbing discovery. Though I may not have fallen into the category of a Saul before I came to know Christ, it was actually far easier to become a Saul AFTER I said yes to Him! We cannot misuse something (truth) that we do not know. Only when we do come to know it do we have the potential to do that. Taking a hard look into my own life’s journey only proves that even more. I’m not saying that we’re all Sauls. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that those of us who are ALREADY IN THE KINGDOM, particularly, pastors and missionaries and other leaders have the greatest potential to “persecute” our own people. Very few of us will probably ever admit to this out loud, but I think that this is one of the most significant prayer requests that we can ask—that we have the heart of Jesus rather than the heart of Saul. Please pray for us. #desiringGod2017