Written by Monica Lutes
“Who are you Lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting! Now get up and GO into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:5-6
Has Jesus ever asked you to make a 180 degree turn in your life to GO with Him in a different direction? In this chapter of Acts and these verses in particular that is exactly what Jesus asks Saul to do.
Prior to the events described in today’s verses, Saul was a man filled with anger and hate toward any person who confessed Jesus as the Son of God. On the road to Damascus, Saul is confronted by Jesus, Himself. Jesus gives Saul a directive to GO into the city and await instructions, instructions that will completely reorient Saul’s heart and mind. Saul will go from being a murderous persecutor of Christians to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to the Gentile world.
Most of us don’t have an experience as dramatic as Saul’s, but Jesus will call all who follow Him to readjust our lives in some degree to GO forward with Him. This readjustment will be no less profound in our modern lives and the lives we touch as Saul’s was 2000 years ago.
My ‘road to Damascus’ experience happened 20 years ago when Jesus confronted me about the anger I carried from my childhood toward my father. By all accounts, my anger and growing bitterness were justified – my father was a violent and angry husband to my mother. My earliest memories are ones of extreme anger and abuse and my mental fixation on those memories was promoting the same anger in my own adult life.
As I drove home from work mentally rehashing my anger at Dad and my robbed childhood (something I did often), the Holy Spirit ‘nudged’ me with a thought – my sin is equal to my dad’s. If I want to enjoy Jesus’ forgiveness of my sins, I must forgive Dad. At that moment, I felt like Jesus had hit me with a ton of bricks. He was asking me to make a 180 degree turn in how I thought - to give up my anger toward my dad. Jesus was asking me to GO in the other direction – one of forgiveness and grace. The process of changing my thoughts wasn’t quick or easy but it freed me to GO with Jesus in a His direction.
Saul’s experience and response on the road to Damascus is a fantastic example of God’s power to transform a person’s heart and life with some very simple instructions – stop destructive behavior and GO in the way Jesus shows you.
Is there a behavior or way of thinking that Jesus is asking you to change? Is He directing you to adjust your current path a little or maybe even 180 degrees? Is He asking you to GO in another direction, His?
Your response will make all the difference in your life and quite possibly someone else’s.
I pray that You will keep nudging, gently or like a ton of bricks if necessary, us into a deeper relationship and service to You. I pray for all who carry baggage of bad behavior, unhealthy thinking/feeling and hurtful habits to have the scales removed from our eyes so we can see You. Like Saul, help us to acknowledge You as Lord and GO forward with Your guidance. In Your name I pray, Amen.