Saturday, February 19, 2011

Active Faith

Acts 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

17 Ἀπῆλθεν δὲ Ἁνανίας καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ἐπιθεὶς ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας εἶπεν· Σαοὺλ ἀδελφέ, ὁ κύριος ἀπέσταλκέν με, Ἰησοῦς ὁ ὀφθείς σοι ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ᾗ ἤρχου, ὅπως ἀναβλέψῃς καὶ πλησθῇς πνεύματος ἁγίου.

This is the result of a little argument that Ananias had with the Lord. He rightfully pointed out that Saul was the man who was persecuting the church. He was having folks arrested and killed. And here God wanted him to go and lay hands on him? He was more afraid of Saul laying hands on him to arrest him. This was a completely legitimate fear.

I think in modern terms this would be like receiving a revelation that you should go stand on a street corner in Jakarta and preach with a Bible in your hand. Or maybe in Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia. I guarantee that you would not do it for very long before you were arrested. You may or may not be killed, but it would go very badly for you. Ananias knew all about Saul and was afraid for good reason.

But here we see that Ananias obeyed. The lesson here is extremely simple. Do you trust God to be faithful to His promises? If so, then you will obey Him. If it were me, I don't think I would trust a vision I received in a dream to do something like this. However, I do know that God's Word is faithful and true. There is plenty in there for me to obey without having to be shot for preaching the gospel on a street corner in Jakarta.

Our problem is that we tend to confuse temporal and eternal blessings. There is nothing in the Bible that promises us a safe and quiet life. What we do have are lots of promises for eternal security in Christ. That needs to be our hope, not some watered-down prosperity message.

This is really convicting to me. How about you? Anyone reading this who is about to take his family to Liberia is exempted from answering.

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