One Decision that Changed a Life Forever
Have you ever had one of those moments when, in retrospect, you realise that one decision you made, changed your life forever? For some of you it might be the day you proposed, or the day you said yes to a new job.
In Acts 9 we read of a guy whose life was forever changed by one encounter and one decision. This guy, of course, was the notorious persecutor of the early church, Saul of Tarsus. In Acts 9, we read of his murderous intent in securing letters from the high priest to go to Damascus to take prisoner anyone who was found to be a follower of “the Way” of Jesus, the Nazarene.
You’ll remember how his razor-sharp focus on this mission was suddenly interrupted by his unexpected encounter with the risen, Lord Jesus Christ, right there on the road that leads to Damascus. Suddenly he was blinded by a brilliant flash of light from heaven, and he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” To which he responded, “Who are you, Lord?” And the answer came back, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” In a moment, everything he thought he knew and believed in was challenged and turned upside down. This Jesus, whom these crazy disciples followed was indeed alive, risen from the dead.
At this point, the old King James version includes yet another question posited by Saul. “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Now, it is doubtful that this sentence was in the original text at this point, however, Paul’s retelling of this dramatic encounter in Acts 22:10 supports the fact that Saul (as he was then known) did in fact ask this question, “What shall I do, Lord?”
That is a powerful and important question for every one of us to ask. And if we are bold enough to ask the question, we may well find that God’s answer will change our lives forever. In this case, the risen Jesus went on to tell Saul what he needed to do. He was indeed to proceed to Damascus, but now his mission would be entirely changed. He was to go there, and a disciple named Ananias would come to him and place his hands upon Saul and his life would be forever changed as he was filled with the Holy Spirit and presented with the mission that God had for his life. This Saul was to be God’s chosen instrument to carry Christ’s name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel (Acts 9:15). While this had not been Saul’s vision of his future life, God had other plans for him.
Could it be that God has other plans for your life than the things you are currently pursuing? Maybe your plans seem like good plans. They certainly don’t involve doing violence or opposing other people’s journey of faith in Jesus. But, just maybe, God is calling you to ask the question right now, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Maybe, he is calling you to step out in faith, to trust him for a journey into ministry and service, the likes of which you had never considered. But the decision to trust him and take the next step of faith towards his good purposes for your life may well change your life forever.
Peter Francis (Principal)
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