Text – Acts 9:20-29
Often when new believers come to Christ, a false doctrine is propagated that – now your life is going to be all great, free from all troubles and stress where Christ has solved all problems for you; you have nothing to worry about. While that sounds great, is that the reality we want them and us, to embrace for a lifetime?
When painting this rosy picture about life with Christ, we miss out on highlighting a crucial aspect of our walk with the Lord. That, there will always be opposition from unexpected quarters and also manifold struggles when we “choose” to do, what God “wills” us to do.
Friends, life with Christ is not a bed of roses. While He surely gives us the grace to overcome struggles and problems, leading us victoriously, it doesn’t guarantee a hassle-free life.
As we look into the text – Acts chapter 9 (v.20-29) we see that Paul got baptised and is now a changed man. His transformation is nothing short of a miracle. The man who travelled far and wide to hunt down Christians, would now travel to the ends of the earth proclaiming about the greatness of Jesus. Talking about Paul’s life, John MacArthur says, “From a volatile, energetic, dynamic enemy of Christ, persecutor and blasphemer came the greater part of the New Testament. Came the noblest statements of Christian theology. Came the sweetest songs of God’s love. And he became the most saintly, heroic person who ever named the name of Jesus Christ. What a transformation.”
We marvel and gasp in awe at this dramatic change in Paul and his extraordinary exploits, but we often fail to take notice of the multiple life threats, warnings, beatings and untold sufferings he encountered while pursuing the vision that God laid on his heart. Paul had been told right after his conversion that he was going to suffer many things for Christ. On the one hand, the Jews & Hellenists were eagerly waiting to conspire and kill him and on the other hand, many Christians (even the disciples) still didn’t believe that he was a changed man.
Friends, when we follow Christ and preach the Gospel, it will offend people, because the gospel hits at the root of everything most people hold dear, especially the popular modern day belief that we are accountable to no one and that we can do anything we set our minds to. So the gospel comes along and says “you’re not the center of the universe and you’re helpless to save yourself.” This core truth will always be hated and scorned by the world. Jesus said, “do not be surprised when the world hates you.”
Theodore Roosevelt once famously said, “Never in history has a man who lived a life of ease, left a name worth remembering.” When we choose to follow Jesus, we should be ready to take the brickbats and criticisms that come our way.
Today, are we ready to take a stand for Christ and follow him passionately, even when the road ahead looks seemingly tough?
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Text – Acts 9:20-29