Last week we were talking about our ark of safety which is the church. The next thing I want to talk about is God’s love for us. We are loved beyond measure. God loves us when we are right, God loves us when we are wrong. God loves us when we are strong and got it together, He loves us when we feel broken and weak, see Romans 8:35-39. This is why we can never use God’s love for us as a measure of His approval of what we are doing with our lives.
God’s love is constant and consistent regardless of whether we are Paul, living for Jesus or Saul terrorising people who love Jesus. God loved Saul with the same kind of love He had for Paul (see Romans 5:8). Same person, different lifestyles.
Acts 9:1-5 says, “Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 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! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.””
Jesus didn’t give Saul a long speech or a ten point sermon on why he was just the worst. He was direct and He told Saul what he could do to move forward. The way Jesus spoke to Saul is the same way He speaks to me sometimes, when I make mistakes. “Hey, that’s not how we do that… Now get up, let’s keep moving ahead.” Jesus loved Saul as much as He loved Paul but that doesn’t mean Jesus was happy with Saul. Jesus confronted Saul about his stuff.
It was a bit dramatic with the bright light from heaven and being blinded (see verse 8) and the voice from heaven but Jesus got His message across. However, Saul still had a choice. He could have ignored the voice and carried on with life but in the verses that follow, we see that Saul acted in obedience to Jesus and made way for his conversion from Saul the Christian slayer to the Apostle Paul we know now.
God confronted a lot of things in the Bible but He did it differently with different people. If it was all the same, we’d have a lot of talking donkeys and we’d not be able to get to work with the blinding light and voice coming from heaven 24/7 dealing with peoples’ stuff. It would be super awkward too!
I find that more commonly, God uses His word and the teaching of His word to confront things in us. This means, the word of God is a mirror that reflects what needs work in us. We talked a few weeks ago about how we need to apply the word of God to our lives. This takes conscious effort of looking into the mirror of the Word and fixing what needs to be fixed.
You don’t look in the mirror, realise you have hair sticking out and just walk out the door. You fix yourself up. Yet so many of us read the word of God, see what it says and ignore it. It is like looking in the mirror, seeing we look like a deranged person, shrug and walk out the door. Yes, God still loves you and your crazy self but it does not mean He agrees with you.
We have been talking about foundations in this series. Making sure our foundations are intact so when the rain and wind comes, we remain standing. One of the things that gets us in trouble when the rain comes is mistaking God’s love for us as Him co-signing on our dysfunction. When things go pear shaped, we are in shock that it all fell apart but God was never in it to begin with. Living our lives according to the word of God gives us security that when the rain and wind come, we will remain standing.
Love and blessings