Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Daniel 7:15-28 and Acts 9:1-22.
Acts 9:16 “I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
After his Damascus Road experience, things would never be the same for Saul of Tarsus – nor would they ever be easy, according to Christ’s words. Saul was being called to bring the message of the Gospel, which he initially hated, to the very people he was meant to be striving against. Groups on both sides of the Christian persecution now had no reason to trust him. To the Syrians Christians, Saul would be considered as a tremendous risk for the fledgling faith; to his religious overseers in Jerusalem, he would be known as an unholy traitor who betrayed his own faith and dishonored God. And even though Saul was put in this situation against his own will, Christ would not fully protect him from the many years of suffering that would come. His calling was not just to spread the Gospel, but to suffer the consequences that came along with it.
As post-modern Christians, we tend to avoid suffering for our faith as much as possible. We want laws to protect our beliefs and advance our causes. We want other people to follow our moral codes to prove that we are right and they are wrong. We want our faith to be individually shaped and personally convenient. We want God to operate within our timetables and according to our goals. We disown anything about our faith that interferes with our desires and we embrace everything that makes us feel good about ourselves, no matter if it conflicts with Christ’s teaching. If Christ were to meet us on our own Damascus Road, we would probably put up with our own blindness rather than have Jesus change everything about us. As for suffering for our faith? – that belongs to the saints in the past or fanatics in the present.
It seems that being nice to one another is more important than being honest with Christ. To be secure is better than suffering; to be comfortable is way much better than being called. Perhaps we should re-read the New Testament passage again (Acts 9:1-22) and then honestly ask ourselves this question:
Am I willing to let Christ call me, even though He will change everything?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes we are scared to give You our hearts and open our lives to Your calling. We don’t want things to change and we would rather turn away from suffering. Help us to approach You honestly so that we may serve You faithfully and do what You want for the rest of our lives. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Christmas drawings called “Mary Had a Baby.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.