#faithbites #faithjourney Damascus
Last night while waiting in the drive-thru for ice cream, I turned on our Christian radio station and heard a program that was new to me: Beyond Damascus. This is a Catholic radio program that “brings young adults the life-changing testimonies of ordinary people that launch them into lives of extraordinary mission for Christ and His Church.” The part of the episode I herd hit me in two places. First the title of the program, Beyond Damascus and setting, Living as Victorious Christians.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Saul, a Christian hating persecuting man, found Jesus on the road to Damascus and became the Disciple Paul who was one of the most influential early Christians. What struck me, was that Paul didn’t just say “Awesome, I’m a Christian” and go on his way. He went beyond the road to Damascus and put his faith into action. His life was forever changed.
The second point, about living as Victorious Christians, is that we should be living for Christ, not for identity or assignments or titles. There is nothing we can do to earn our identity. God gave that to us through Christ’s sacrifice. When we embrace our our identiy, then assignments flow, and possibly titles to reflect that. If we try to earn our identity through titles or assignments we fail.
Todays questions: What will you do to move beyond your Damascus moment? How do you accept and use your identity in Christ?
Act 9:3-20 –
As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.
10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied.11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.
”So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
This except from Acts Chapter 9, illustrates both points. First, Paul accepted his identity from the Lord without question. This from a man who killed and persecuted Christians. Second, Ananias, who has his road to Damascus moment at some point early, had instructions from the Lord and even though he was questioning them, did what God said. He didn’t wait. Finally, Saul went out and began preaching the word of Christ in the synagogues.
What does this mean for us? Neither Paul nor Ananias did this for titles or assignments. They had their identity given to them from God. Then God gave them an assignment and they did it to serve the Lord.
How does this help us? I’ll admit, for most of my life I’ve been trying to get assignments to prove my worth. If I can’t get an assignment, I’ll try to get a new title to show I’m important. This isn’t how God works. I need to focus on accepting I’m a loved chosen Child of God, then the assignments and titles will flow.
As we close, think about your identity in Christ. How has that changed you? What will you do to move beyond Damascus and truly serve the Lord?
Lord Jesus, you have shown your power through Saul’s transformation to Paul. You gave him an identity and purpose. You gave us an identity in you even when we didn’t or could never earn it. We pray that you help us accept that identity. Let us live in the identity as Chosen Children of God. Lord, we ask for you to make our assignments clear and help us to use whatever assignments and positions you bestow on us to serve you always. In your name, Amen.