WELCOME FELLOW BLOGGER DANELL STEFFEN TO THE PAGES OF SIMPLY SCRIPTURE!
-READING WITH MY EYES OPEN-
Paul was ravaging the church. In Acts 9 we see the story of Paul’s conversion experience. He led such persecution against believers in Jerusalem that his name was known among believers in other towns. He voted to put believers to death and imprison them. He was so passionate about persecuting believers in Jesus that he received permission to travel to other towns in order to arrest more of them.
As Paul traveled the road to Damascus he encountered God. He himself was arrested in his tracks and Jesus asked him ‘Why are you persecuting me?’ Paul was struck with blindness and had to be led into town by those traveling with him. In his blindness Paul was already experiencing the opening of his eyes spiritually to the truth of Jesus the Messiah.
Which Right Thing?
Paul had been so convinced that he was doing the right thing, yet Paul never uses that as an excuse. He was traveling to persecute believers because he absolutely believed that he was serving God. Yet Paulnever says ‘But I didn’t know!’ Instead, Paul is baptized three days later when his sight is returned, ready to pursue his new faith.
I believe God chose Paul precisely because of this passion for obedience that Paul displays. We see Paul show this passion for serving God throughout his ministry. He sets aside his personal safety and comfort continually in order to pursue obedience to God.
Where is Your Real Commitment?
Now let’s contrast this with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. They are just as committed to seeing Christians persecuted. They are after all, the ones who gave Paul permission to arrest believers. In Acts 22 Paul is brought before them and for his defense he gives his testimony. I love reading the sermons in Acts. Their testimony flows so smoothly, connecting the old covenant and the new.
As Paul gives his testimony he commands the attention of the crowd. They are quiet and attentive. As I read I hope momentarily that after all the leaders may see the truth of the gospel. Yet when Paul reaches the part of his testimony where God sends him to the Gentiles, they become outraged.
Paul had been as devoted as any of them until his encounter with God, yet he set aside his own preferences to follow the truth. When the religious leaders are confronted with the part of the gospel they disagree with, they turn their back on the truth. They served God with their mouths, but it was for their own selfish gain that mattered in their hearts.
Where Do I Come In?
When I encounter a Scripture, I want to come away with two major questions answered. 1. What does this passage say? 2. What should I do now? So when I take a step back to compare Acts 9 and 22, I can see the clear contrast between Paul’s heart and the heart of the other religious leaders. There is a clear message that wrong is wrong, even if you have good intentions. Also, I can see the underlying message that the leaders cared less about the truth than their own opinions.
Where does this leave me? I need to examine my own life for truths from the Word that I am turning a blind eye to because they are uncomfortable to absorb. There is risk in studying the Bible. Once I know the truth I can be convicted to change, and change is scary! But there is comfort in the knowledge of the Bible as well, because God’s guidance is so much better than my wisdom. It’s tempting to turn away when I am confronted with truth I don’t want to hear. It’s tempting to be comfortable in the surface knowledge of the Scripture that I get from living a casual Christian existence. But without digging in, without searching for the truth myself; I also have only a surface relationship with my Savior.
Meet the Author!
Hello! I am Danell and you can find me over at faithplusfamily.com where you will find encouraging articles and resources for you to use as a parent and for your own walk with Christ. My family Bible studies and posts will equip you to lead your kids into a deeper understanding of God. The inspiration for my blog comes from Deuteronomy 6 as God directs His people to drench their lives with Him. It is my heart to saturate my family with God and I’d love to share with you practical ways to do that for your family! I have made so many mistakes as a parent and I don’t have it all figured out. His strength is made perfect in my weakness and I’d like to invite you to join this journey with me!
Danell is wife to Ken and mom to three precious girls. Nine year old twins ‘C’ and ‘L’ and five year old ‘H’- all girls! They love to hike as a family and play lots of games.