But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord… Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a Voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” …Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus… Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, 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.” … the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” ~ from Acts 9
Oh beloved, it is true. There is a word that we (at least the old man within us) do not like to hear. Oh, yes. We bandy the term about. But when we come up against it – there always comes something that seems like a better idea.
We love the Great Love with which He Loves us. We bask in the Grace He has lavished upon us. And then though, comes a moment when we see the works He has prepared for us to walk in.
They are enormous.
They are impossible.
They are risky.
They are mundane.
They will lead to our seeming ruin.
And we flinch…. We wonder if we couldn’t just go back to our plans for being a good Christian and doing some charity work. Maybe we could just join the worship team or the choir… Wouldn’t that be good enough?
In a word, no.
The One who made us and saved us and has set us on a path towards The Kingdom is not satisfied by the possible. He made things that are possible for those who could already do them. And as wonderful as the possible is, it is not the stuff He has in mind for us.
We, beloved, are being prepared for a life that will never end. We are being made into the very likeness of this same Jesus who has given us this Life in Himself. And for this life to actually work, something else has to stop working. Actually, it has to die.
You (and i).
Can we see it? Paul was stopped dead in his tracks, and put onto a new path by His Master. And yes, Paul did go through quite a bit of circumstantial difficulties in walking along the Way. But, the suffering that Paul (and you, and me) go through was/is not really the difficulties of life. No, the suffering was/is the intense pain of us letting go of everything and being conformed to the likeness of Christ – and into a person who is completely obedient to Him alone.
So, yes, obedience is painful – but it is not dangerous to us. It is, rather, a perfect path to us to knowing the heart of the One who is doing the guiding now in our lives. For when we let go of our own expectations of what we think we should be doing, and now look expectantly into His eyes, we no longer see what we thought would be some cruel taskmaster.
No, instead we see the adventurous and ruddy countenance of a Friend who is simply beaming with Love and a willingness (and eagerness) to show us the fields of forever in which we are going to play. He is calling us into impossible adventures because that is going to be the standard operating procedure of the Kingdom. We will do things, and accomplish things there – under His authority – that we cannot even now begin to dream possible.
So, are you struggling to obey? Maybe it is not about behavior. Maybe it is about your own thoughts on the issue. Tonight is your night beloved. Time to suffer the death all freemen in the Kingdom endure. But once you do, you will find a life you never dreamed possible. Let Him have you. Simply obey. Makala Doulous is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves as a Pastor/Teacher in Jahkarta, Indonesia. You can email him at Makala@ps1611.org
Think About This: Consecration is the narrow, lonely way to overflowing love. We are not called upon to live long on this planet, but we are called upon to be holy at any and every cost. If obedience costs you your life, then pay it. ~Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. Psalm 25:11