***For some reason I felt compelled to post this lesson from May. Obedience to the spirit is what God desires.***
The Apostle Paul and King David’s life stories are the stuff movies are made of. Their lives portray a whirlwind of raw emotions ranging from complete victory to utter defeat. As Paul and David begin their walk with God, their story evolves into a remarkable account of how God is the God of second changes.
The Bible provides a vivid account of The Apostle Paul’s (Saul) encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus in Acts 9:1-9:
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
Paul who was called Saul was an enemy of the worst kind for Christians. Paul believed with everything in him that he was doing God’s will by removing Christians from the face of the earth. Sometimes what I like to call “Your want to” can be so wrong for the occasion. In this case, Paul’s want to was miss guided.
God had to knock Paul down for a lifting up. In Acts 9:15-16 the Lord tells Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Whenever God has a plan for your life or if pride resides in your heart, God has the unique ability to knock you down for a lifting up. God’s discipline is painful at times, but it is the life-giving water that sustains believers for complete devotion to God Almighty.
I believe it is important for all Christians especially new Christians to know that life doesn’t become a bed of roses the moment you say “Jesus is Lord.” In fact, the moment you say “Jesus is Lord,” several key things begin to unfold during your new-found walk with God:
- Your walk with God will heighten your awareness of sin in your life.
- You become public enemy number one to Satan
- God will begin chiseling that huge piece of marble called your character into a beautiful Christ-like sculpture.
Every Christian must experience this process if you are to remain in the vine which is Jesus Christ. There are no exceptions to this truth.
The book of 2 Samuel 12:1-25 provides a vivid account of King David’s knock down for a lifting up. Nathan the prophet confronts David with the sin he committed with Bathsheba and against her husband Uriah. Nathan gives David a good old fashion “In your face” smack down that promptly lead David to sack clothe and ashes.
What do you do when things done in the dark come to the light of God’s discipline? What do you do when the consequences of your sin cause pain for those who have done no wrong? What do you do? You do what David did; he humbled himself before the Lord so God could lift him up in due time:
2 Samuel 12:16-25
David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth[b] on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.
David knew his actions were not reflective of the life God called him to. David became engrossed in the greatness that God empowered him to carry out for God’s glory and His glory alone. It is a dreadful thing when pride leads to a down fall (Proverbs 16:18-28).
After God disciplined David, he refreshed himself and began to worship God (2 Samuel 12:20). David’s actions angered his servants. In their minds, David should have sunk in the pit of sorrow when he heard the child died. Isn’t that what most folks do when they face difficulties? We like to soak in it licking our wounds feeling sorry or ourselves.
I am not saying that what we experience in life isn’t hard or painful. What I am saying is, David realized that he did all he could do, and all he could do was enough. He reasoned with God in hopes that God would have mercy upon him. When God provides an answer to your situation, embrace His wisdom for we know that God ALWAYS works everything for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
God powerfully showed through the lives of Paul and David how He alone can bring about the knocking down for a powerful lifting up. Paul went on to write most of the New Testament and planted churches all over the known world. David is known as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) as mentioned in Revelations 22:16 “I, Jesus have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
What are the knock downs for a lifting up in your life? How has your response been after The Lord brings you out of your affliction? Has your response been one of joy and worship to God? Or perhaps you would rather soak in the pool of sorrow.
What ever the case, fight for the right prospective and response to God Almighty; for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17). To God be the glory, amen.
** If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with.