Today is last post in a 6 week series of posts on God Encounters. I hope this series has encouraged and uplifted you.
As we finish it out will look at the encounter that God had with Saul who later becomes the apostle Paul. Look to Acts 9 and get picture of what happened and how God encountered Saul. Click here to read Acts 9:1-25. We have looked at that we should never forget that unbelievers can change and be converted and once someone is converted it should become “not I but Christ” and that should show clearly in our lives. Our lives should also reflect the fact that Jesus wants us to know Him intimately and when that happens we are transformed by knowing Him. We also saw that there are times when we look foolish to others because we are following the wisdom of God. That then leads to these last few thoughts.
Something else that we need to focus on; an encounter with God should take away our pride and humble us. Every person wants to sit upon the throne of their own life. We are all driven by selfish or egotistical goals – that is all of us – and that is what happens when Jesus is not where he should be in your life or mine. However, Jesus Christ wants to sit upon the throne of our life – He wants you to allow Him to be in control and drive. Jesus needs to be in the drives seat – we are NOT his co-pilot and He is NOT ours – we need to be in the backseat saying nothing and enjoying the ride! The arrogant Saul who met Jesus Christ could say for the rest of his life, "Not I but Christ" which is what he said in Galatians 2:20. For all of us – we need to rid ourselves of saying me, my, and I but make it about Christ and others! Pride is a self focus and humility is an others focus! How many times do you say me, my, or I each day? I dare you to count and I promise you will be astounded by the number times you say them and the subjects you say me, my, and I about. Me, my, and I pushed God out of whatever you use those words with! What are you pushing God out of?
Something else here I want you to notice and that is Saul was not the only one who was encountered by God in this story! God has some people who will help to explain to us our encounter with Him. There was a believer in Damascus called Ananias that was not previously mentioned in Scripture and interestingly he is never mentioned again. Apparently, Ananias is encountered by God and raised up for this one shining moment in life. Ananias was to help Saul in his crucial encounter with Jesus Christ. Ananias was a man whose main stage moment in life was this one thing and it was so very important! He had to step in and show Saul the meaning in what happened to him. Here is the thing – it is not an easy thing to do and in order to do it you must be one who is read up in the Word of God and one who is prayed up in the power of Christ. I believe Ananias to be a very godly man and one who is faithful because he was called to do something powerful in his encounter with Christ and something that was extremely hard!
I am reminded in some ways of Phillip and the eunuch in Acts 8:30 -31 where we read: 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Are you connected with Jesus to the point where you could sit with someone and help them find Christ? Are you a person who has a positive reputation among people to come and talk with – without them feeling judged or condemned? Are you someone who has an open heart and attitude for God to encounter you and call you to speak with someone? Ananias was and God called him to do something very hard.
Ananias was initially afraid because he had heard about the reputation of Saul. He knew what Saul was like and what Saul had done and was going to be doing but now God encounters him to go and meet Saul and lay hands on him and pray for him. God is asking him to do something that was unpleasant and potentially deadly because he did not know if Saul was faking being a Christian to just learn who the Christians were or not! We can learn a lesson in this and that is: in an encounter sometimes God gives us a task that is unpleasant. God gave Ananias a task that was for certain unpleasant but in that task God gave him the strength and courage to do it and great blessing came as a result. We see that Ananias obeyed and went to Saul and then laid hands on him and prayed for his healing. God used Ananias to deliver a message to Saul that he was to be the apostle to the Gentiles. We see an example of someone we need to be like! I challenge you to think about yourself – are you willing to do the hard and unpleasant task if God encounters you to do so?
Has God ever encountered you to do something unpleasant? How did it work out? Any thoughts on the series?