2nd Passage for Study: Acts 9: 28 – 31 [NKJV] ... 28 So he [Paul] was with them [Christ’s disciples] at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. 31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.
My Journal for Today: Today we have a lesson repeated by my devotional teacher, Chuck Swindoll, in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives; and it’s a lesson which Swindoll has taught from every one of the great character studies he has undertaken. Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Job, and now Paul; they all had to learn this lesson, which is that HUMILITY is the key to unlocking God’s treasure chest of grace. And if you’ve been following all these daily devotional entries with me, we’ve seen that each of these great characters in the Bible had to learn the humility lesson by going through some pretty tough lessons plans from the Master Teacher, … God!
Oh, how I desire to be humble; but I must admit that I know, from these character studies, and from my own experience, that it is far less painful if we can learn God’s priority on humility by CHOOSING to accept the principle that God’s grace is sufficient and that we must CHOOSE to receive God’s grace if we are to be able to handle the challenges of life with God’s power to replace our own weakness (see that lesson in 2nd Cor. 12: 9), a teaching which the Apostle Paul taught to the Corinthian backsliders, which came right out of his own experiences.
My friend, how many times have I said this in my morning devotional? “We will choose to humbly receive God’s grace or He will humble us to a place in life we simply will have to reach out to receive that grace!” That’s what Saul, who became Paul, learned in today’s scenario; … that he needed to rely on other leaders in the church and to go where those leaders – and God – told Paul to go. As you read today, they sent him to Tarsus; and he had to lay low for a period of time, letting God’s plan for His church unfold. That assignment might seem, on the surface, to be a curious one. To be sent to his home town and to have to stay in the background; wow, that just wasn’t in the M.O. of this former Jewish leader. However, he did it; and because he did, God used the time to teach Paul and to build up the church with Paul sitting back and watching others come to the fore to get that plan accomplished.
Are we trying hard to run ahead of God’s planning and His purpose? Would we like to be out there in the limelight, being a leader in the church, rather than having to sit back and learn lessons from God? Well, my friend, perhaps that is God’s plan for you; but take it from a disciple who’s been led to become a discipler of others? We have to follow God first before we can become a leader of others. If we’re to move to at the frontlines in battle, leading others into the fray, we first have to learn to follow other leaders and walk the walk of faith, IN HUMILITY, before we will ever lead with effectiveness.
Paul was able to write the book of Romans and to travel the known world as God’s evangelist to the Gentiles because he learned how to humbly follow God’s plan and to accept God’s timing. Paul became a leader of others, like the Corinthian church (see 1st Cor. 11: 1) or the young Pastor, Timothy, (see all of 2nd Timothy) because He had learned to HUMBLY follow Christ and then to HUMBLY accept the mantle of leadership.
Let’s get it straight, dear ones. We must learn that obedience follows humility; and it is God’s blessing, from His grace, which results from obedience. So, when we’re led to follow our Lord, may we choose to follow – in surrender and humility - and then, if it’s God’s plan, we may someday be chosen to lead others into a deeper, more fruitful relationship with our Lord.
My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, help me learn to be humble; and then may I choose to BE humble so that You can give me the grace I need to lead others. Amen