Monday, December 22, 2014

Extended Obedience, 1: Ananias' Story

“’Lord,’ Ananias answered, ‘I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel’” (Acts 9:13-15, NIV).

At this very moment, Ananias was gripped with fear and initial anxiety. God had just spoken to him about encountering face to face the one man that was had been focused on leading the persecution and execution of many Christians. Ananias undoubtedly had heard the stories from others how Saul had been at the stoning execution of Stephen, and how he, himself, very well may have been the target of Saul’s current mission. But Ananias had just heard the voice of God. How could he dismiss that voice for the screams of fear from within? Faith required more than feelings.

We are all challenged by God to do what we do not want to do. Many times it is not because we are rebellious or defiant. It’s because we’re afraid. We calculate the next move based on an assumption or a fear. Sometimes it’s based on the last move, or on comparisons of someone else’s last move. Don’t allow fear and anxiety to from the extended obedience God has called for. Even Ananias began his conversation with God by answering, “Yes, Lord” (Acts 9:10). Don’t be quick to give into the emotions. Hear God speak. Answer with surrender, “yes, Lord.”

Extended Reading Option: Jeremiah 1:6-8

Extended Journal Option: Why do you think fear is so powerful? Why is “quick” or “immediate obedience” slow in becoming reality?

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