I recently went to a conference on Uniting the Church, Igniting the Passion, Impacting the World; the ONE Conference. It was an amazing time with speakers and worship that pointed to Christ as the center of all we do within the body of Christ. I was convicted and changed that weekend. Convicted in the way I live my life and hang onto some of the sins that I enjoy too much. Changed in that my soul filled with the love of Christ for my brothers and sisters who are lost and who do not know the love of God in their lives. In some sense, I feel like a 21st Century Paul and how his life changed in an instant from a Christ-fighter to a Christ-follower.
Through that weekend, I came away reading about Paul and the two very important questions that we should also be asking as we continue or start our journey with Christ in our lives. Let’s look at an excerpt in Acts where Paul retells his conversion experience;
“Now it happened as I journeyed and came near to Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. So I said,’What shall I do Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.” — Acts 22:6-11
Were you able to find those most important questions that we should be asking ourselves? Saul recognizes that the light is the Lord Almighty and still asks Who are you, Lord? I believe that we need to be blinded at times. Not looking at our experiences, not focusing on everything going on around us, not continuing in our self-centered living. We need to close it all out and focus on Christ, and ask Who are you, Lord? We may recognize Him as Lord, we may say He has sovereignty in our lives, we may even proclaim scripture that He is our strength, but what is important here is to listen, listen to the response from Christ. Saul did not ask and then continue on His way, He truly wanted to know who was this light, who was this that came so boldly to him, who was this that is interfering in his life at the moment in such a glorified way.We need to be blinded at times in order to be fully focused on Christ. Click To Tweet
Wouldn’t you want to know Christ’s response to your asking? How would Jesus respond to you? In Saul’s story, the Lord comes right out and tells him, probably something that Saul does not want to hear since he is on his way to wipe out the name of Jesus. But the Lord replies, I am Jesus, the one who you are persecuting. OUCH! The truth hurts. Maybe the truth when we ask will hurt too, just maybe Christ will answer;
I am Jesus whom your career has overtaken our time together
I am Jesus the One you put aside to climb the ladder of power
I am Jesus who gave you talents who you don’t even use
I am Jesus whom you only seek once a week
I am Jesus whom you help others just to feed your own glory
I am Jesus whom is left in the building when you leave on Sunday
I am Jesus who does not feel as though I am center of your life
What would Jesus say? That is where I was convicted. Although I say my life is for Him, there are things I still want to control myself. Jesus’ reply to me was, “I am Jesus who can set you free if you let Me.” I’m ready, I’m willing, I’m taking my hands off the steering and handing it over to Christ.
Now that Christ has come to us and expressed what is in our life that keeps us from truly being a complete committed follower? Maybe we need to ask like Saul, “What shall I do Lord?” I think the majority of Christians are asking this on a daily basis. God, where do you want me? How can I serve you more? What is it that you are calling me to do for you in this life you have given?
Saul had some waiting period coming. He was to go into Damascus and wait. He had to wait three whole days before Ananias would come and tell him that Saul would be a messenger of the gospel for the Christ he had been fighting against. It is the grace of God being poured out on the Chief of Sinners. At that time Saul receives his sight back and knows through the waiting that the Lord met him and he now had to become a Christ-follower. Immediately Saul was then baptized and started to preach. Remember I said that I felt like the 21st Century, Paul? The life change I had cannot remain in me either. And, if you are a follower of Jesus, then you too are to rise up and tell someone. Christ has done a remarkable thing in my life, and like Saul/Paul how can you leave it to yourself.
I have asked these two important questions, maybe you should as well for Christ will come and meet you and explain what He wants for you. His promises are true and He promises to be with you and me wherever we go.