THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named, Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias,” and he said, “Here I am, Lord.” Acts 9:10 (ESV)
THOUGHTS FROM MARCY
There’s a line from a worship song running through my head as I write this devotional. It’s from a beautiful song called “Obedience” by Lindy & The Circuit Riders. The worshipper sings out passionately, “I will love you with my ‘YES,’ and with my obedience, Jesus!”
These four chapters we get to dive into this week encompass some truly incredible stories of God moving powerfully through His followers to accomplish His purposes on the earth. We will see how each person’s “Yes!” to Jesus prepares the way for Him to move among the people in miraculous ways.
A devoted follower of Jesus, Stephen’s “Yes” came long before his moment of trial, so when the time came, Stephen’s heart was ready to obey no matter what the cost. And what a cost! He boldly proclaimed God’s power and authority to those opposing Christ, even to the point of his death by stoning.
Then we see Philip’s “Yes” to Jesus, walking right into a desert to meet with a total stranger from a foreign land. Philip was told where to go and not much else. When he got to where he was supposed to be, God told him more, “Go over and join this chariot.” He ended up sharing the Gospel with a total stranger and baptizing him! This man of influence would now carry the Gospel back to his native land, Ethiopia.
Later, we see how Christ-follower, Ananias, responds from the start, “Here I am, Lord.” God calls him to be a part of the redemptive work in Saul’s life, laying healing hands on a renowned murderer of Christ-followers. Ananias had questions for sure, but his “Yes” was offered up to God. Saul’s spirit, as well as his physical eyes, were opened to Christ as Savior, and he became a major force in the spreading of the Gospel!
Finally, Peter’s “Yes” to Jesus allowed him to receive God’s revelation in a vision about Gentiles being recipients of the Good News, as well as the Jews. (This news would have been very hard to receive from God in Peter’s natural mind– it was against everything he had been taught about Gentiles.) As a result of Peter’s “Yes” to Jesus, he got to witness first-hand the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles.
You see, their lives were not their own. They belonged to Jesus and were found in Him. The “Yes” was already in place, so when the time came, they were ready to obey, without condition.
I encourage each of us to let God search us and know us today. Are we submitted to Him? Can we say “Yes” to Jesus today before we know the “what,” the “how,” and the “why,” and trust He is good, He is faithful, and He loves us with an everlasting love? Even in our weakness, Jesus is still wanting to move. It’s not about our perfection, but overflows from a relationship with Him. He promises in His Word that His purposes and plans are not only for our good, but for His glory (Romans 8:28). It is our privilege as His beloved children to get to be a part of His Story.