“On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
- Acts 26:12-18
“Are you determined to have your own way in living for God? We will never be free from this trap until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of “the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Stubbornness and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our own rights and insist that this is what we intend to do, we are persecuting Him. Whenever we rely on self-respect, we systematically disturb and grieve His Spirit. And when we finally understand that it is Jesus we have been persecuting all this time, it is the most crushing revelation ever.
“Is the Word of God tremendously penetrating and sharp in me as I hand it on to you, or does my life betray the things I profess to teach? I may teach sanctification and yet exhibit the spirit of Satan, the very spirit that persecutes Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is conscious of only one thing— a perfect oneness with the Father. And He tells us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). All I do should be based on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly. This will mean that others may use me, go around me, or completely ignore me, but if I will submit to it for His sake, I will prevent Jesus Christ from being persecuted.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I have included the entire Oswald Chambers devotion for January 28. In an odd way, it connects with yesterday’s post with regard to the personal testimony. Rev. Swindoll speaks of Paul giving his testimony six times over a period of six chapters in the book of Acts. The Scripture above is Paul’s testimony before king Agrippa.
And also from yesterday’s post, I mentioned how some people wanted something from God, as I wanted Joy, without taking up God’s will for their lives. It does not work that way, and it may be in that category of persecuting Jesus as Chambers mentions. If we do not surrender completely, Jesus has no use for us, and for those called to service for the Lord, that service is only blessed when we are doing what God had planned for us all along.
Am I persecuting Jesus? No, I feel tremendously blessed, and I look forward to finding out what is next. My circumstances may be frazzled for the moment, but it will all be fine, knowing that God is being glorified.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.