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January 16, 2019

GOD FIRST: How the Right Path Finds You

“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:6 (NIV)

There’s a principle in spiritual guidance that is so liberating:  Follow Jesus, and the right path will find you!  How often have you wondered if you were on the right path in life?  Is this the right path, or should I find another path?  

We pray for clarity to see the path God has for us.  Yet could it be that God wants to simplify the process and is saying, “Just follow Me, and the right path will find you!”  That’s what He was saying to Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee bent on doing what he thought was God’s will by eradicating the followers of the Way.  Followers of the Way were Jewish disciples of Jesus.  Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul, saw these Christ followers as a cult, threatening the very core of Judaism. On his way to Damascus with orders from the Chief Priest to arrest these followers of Jesus, He would encounter the risen Christ, who would transform his life and redirect his path dramatically!  Luke records the experience in Acts 9 and says that Saul was struck by a blinding light that knocked him to his knees.  He then heard a voice speaking to him.  It was Jesus Himself confronting Saul with his misdirected zeal.  Sometimes, God has to bring us to our knees before He can open our eyes to what we could not see before.

Saul asked Jesus an interesting question.  This well-educated Pharisee, who knew so much about God but didn’t know God personally asked, “Who are You, Lord?” in Acts 9:5. It’s never enough just to know about God.  He longs for us to know Him personally.  He invites us into an intimate and personal relationship with Him.  He longs to reveal Himself to us. 

For three days, Luke tells us, Saul would remain blind.  This great religious leader now had to be led by the hand.  What a humbling experience.  But God was at work in his life in a huge way, preparing him for a new path!  He ate nothing for those three days, fasting and seeking God for what this all meant. All that God said to Him was this,

“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Vs. 6) 

I love that, don’t you?  Can you relate to the way God was leading Saul?  He was beginning to teach him what He wants us to understand as well.  It’s not about following a path; it’s about following a person!  If you follow the right person, the path will find you!  God will engineer the circumstances to fall into place when you follow Him!  

In the meantime, God was speaking to a Christ follower named Ananias who lived in Damascus.  Luke tells us in verse 10,

“There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias.  The Master spoke to him in a vision: ‘Ananias.’ ‘Yes, Master?’ he answered.” 

Ananias is the picture of what God is looking for in those He uses to accomplish His will.  Before he was even told what to do, Ananias’ answered, “Yes, Master.”  Ananias was restfully available and instantly obedient.  He simply followed Jesus and knew that whatever path God had would find him.  This path seemed counter-intuitive though, and he raised an honest question.

“Ananias protested, ‘Master, You can’t be serious.  Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against Your people in Jerusalem!  And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.’”  (Vs. 13-14)

Before you criticize Ananias for his objections, consider what you may have done.  Have you ever objected to something God was telling you to do or, perhaps, to stop doing?  God often stretches us to teach us to trust Him and simply follow Him.  Thankfully, Ananias’s objection didn’t forfeit him for the assignment that God had for him.  God was about to do something so amazing that both Saul and Ananias would never be the same!  Luke tells us,

“But the Master said, ‘Don’t argue. Go!  I have picked him as My personal representative to Gentiles, kings and Jews. … So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me, so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’”  Acts 9:15; 17 (MSG)

When we follow Jesus, the right path will find us!  I love what happens next in this story:

“No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes – he could see again!  He got to his feet, (and) was baptized….”  (Vs. 18)

Have you been praying for the right path?  Maybe you feel confused and wonder if you’re on the right path?  Simplify your faith with this principle and pray:

Prayer:

Thank You, loving Lord, that You simply call me to follow You.  You didn’t tell me to find the way or make a way.  You just called me to become a follower of the Way. I understand now that the Way is a person, Jesus Christ!  I choose to follow Jesus.  Thank You that, as I follow You, the right path will find me.  Help me to simply walk in obedience to Your will.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.