Short Thought continued.....
One of the greatest biblical examples of an awakening is that of Saul of Tarsus.
Saul, an aggressive persecutor of first-century Christians, was feared by many.
He witnessed the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
God appeared to Saul on the Damascus Road as he was travelling
to get authorisation from the high priest to persecute any Christians he could find.
Saul was blinded and led by the hand into Damascus,
where he remained without food or drink for three days.
Jesus sent Ananias, a Christian, to him:
‘“Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were
coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.’
In that moment, Saul ceased to exist and a new man, Paul, was metaphorically ‘born again’.
With the restoration of his physical sight came a new ‘seeing’.
He had been blind to the reality of Christ, and of his own relationship with him.
His spirit awakened to the truth of the words of those he’d tried to silence:
Jesus was the Light of the World; the Messiah, the Son of God.
New life surged through the parts that had previously been filled with murderous hate.
Love engulfed him. His mind and heart were transformed.
He became radically committed to the promotion of the early church.
He became the most tireless and fearless advocate of Christ Jesus.
Awakenings are not always so dramatic: nor do they always include a recognisable encounter with Jesus. Anything that shakes our status quo has the potential to awaken us.
Life events such as divorce, marriage, redundancy, moving home can become
gateways to transformation and rebirth when we are able to lean in to ‘the shaking’.
As I reflect on a recent event, I see that radical transformation came when I consciously
chose to love and gave up my ‘rights’ to Jesus. Consciously choosing to love allowed me to move
from defensiveness to openness, to stay in relationships I wanted to run from and
to use relationship difficulties to connect me more deeply with God and others.
In the process, Jesus taught me that “to love is to give everything”.
This truth is a gift from God and way beyond my human ability.
It is the love that Paul writes of:
‘Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
What events in your life have the potential for an awakening?
Who can you consciously choose to love?