Saul was angry. He was driven by an insane rage to kill those who followed and preached Christ. He went to the high priest and asked for letters of authorization so that he could arrest any Christian he found in Damascus and bring them chained to Jerusalem. In Acts 9, he journeyed towards Damascus, with the letters in his hands and murder in his heart. He had a very specific plan in mind and that was to jail and kill as many Christians as he could. When the Martyr Steven was stoned to death, Saul was consenting to his death. The witnesses laid down their clothes at his feet to prove that they were a part of his acts of terror against Christians. His plan clearly defined in his wicked heart, Saul journeyed towards Damascus to carry out his purpose. But things were about to change.
Suddenly, a bright light from heaven knocked him off his horse and he fell to the ground in shock. Out of that light he heard the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ speak very clearly to him: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ Saul asked, ‘who are you Lord?’ The Lord Jesus answered him, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ Then Saul trembling in great fear asked, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’
Read the story in Acts Chapter 9.
In that afternoon encounter, the Lord Jesus Christ redirected the course of Saul’s life forever. He completely changed his plans, his purpose and his destiny, all in one afternoon. Like Paul, many of us are running after our own plans. We have our plans written in stone and cast in iron; nothing can change them. We are obstinate in our devotion to achieve all those things we have written out as our goals for the year. Sadly, many of those plans are OUR plans. They originate from a place of pride, vain ambition, competition and carnal desires. Many of those plans have their origin and root in the flesh. They were not birthed in the place of prayer, neither were they birthed by revelation as we studied and meditated on the Word of God. Some of these desires are a product of secret sins and evil desires lurking in the untouched, unreached, un-renewed regions of our soul, hidden from human eyes but very naked to the Lord. These regions of our soul is where the Lord seeks to perform a surgical work if only we would let Him.
To the human mind, many of our plans and desires are very legitimate, but the Lord sees quite differently. You want to expand your company, get promoted to a higher position at your office, relocate to a foreign country, start a new business, start a new ministry or church, make more money, get married to your dream spouse, have children, travel around the world, preach on some famous pulpits, build, buy, own bigger lands and houses, buy better and bigger cars, etc. The list is endless. The carnal mind is ‘trained’ to deceive and lead us in the wrong direction. It is only God’s Word and the revelation of the Holy Spirit that can deliver us from its deception.
There are so many things to achieve in a twelve month period, but so little time to get them done. To the human mind, they all seem legitimate, however we fail to ask ourselves one little question. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, we must ask ourselves, ‘Lord, what will you have me do?’ This question asked from a pure heart is all that is important. All the plans you have are your plans. They are not the Lord’s. The Lord wants to take His place in your heart and in your life. The Lord is about to change your plans and set you on a completely different course than you intended. Like Paul, we must be willing to yield our hearts and will to His own will. We must pray and ask that the Lord purge our hearts of every hidden, secret sin and perfect Christ in us. We must set aside our brilliant plans and listen for the voice of the Master to tell us exactly what to do with the months ahead of us. The days ahead are very dark. Anybody who prophesies peace and prosperity to you is a deceiver from hell and there are many deceivers masquerading as ministers of the gospel. We cannot afford to live like the heathen who have no hope of eternity. We must constantly live with eternity on our minds.
Beloved, in the Kingdom, our life is not about achievement but about obedience. It is not about how much we accomplish but about how well we obey the Master. We are not commended for achieving many things but for doing the right things in obedience. Unlike the world which assess itself by financial and material accumulation, our walk with the Lord is not judged by money or material things but by the level of our obedience. When we obey the Lord, allowing Him to guide our hearts in the direction of His purpose and plans, every financial and material need will be taken care of. That long list of carnal desires becomes unnecessary because the Lord knows what things we have need of and is eternally committed to fulfill His Word in our lives.