Evangelism

Boldness

This devotional is written by Camilla Morris. Camilla is married to Alex and they have a son called Sparrow.

Acts 9:19-31

19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, 'Isn't he the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?' 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews,[a] but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

Reflection

Few Bible stories are as thrilling as Saul's of Tarsus' dramatic road to Damascus conversion. Through the power of Christ, a man who had been a hate-filled villain becomes a love-filled hero instrumental in spreading the gospel of Jesus far and wide.

There are many things we can learn from Saul in this passage but on this occasion, I felt compelled to talk about my own 'Road to Damascus' experience during 'The life course' at St. Mary's many years ago.

I cannot put into words what happened the afternoon I was filled with the Holy Spirit except that it was powerful and profound. I felt Jesus' love and presence so strongly that it left me buzzing for three solid days and I felt more known and alive than I had ever done in my whole life.

I expect Saul must have felt the same.

Following that encounter my heart was transformed, I changed from tearing down Christians to reaching out to anyone I could to talk to about the person of Jesus. I was not like Saul perfectly qualified to be an evangelist: familiar with Greek language and culture and well versed in Jewish theology. I couldn't argue with the various points people made to me to discredit the Christian faith, but I could tell them what God had done in my life and how His love, grace and mercy had changed me and had changed my heart and why I made the choice to follow Him.

Looking back, I remember people coming up to me in my day-to-day life on a regular basis and randomly wanting to strike up conversation, commenting on the fact that there was something 'different' about me and I knowing that it was simply the Holy Spirit alive in me. It seemed so easy back then to talk about Jesus. Becoming a mother has since got in the way, priorities have changed and I know I need to be set on fire again for a faith and person I am so passionate about.

As I write I am reminded that I've been saved, I've been blessed, life has been incredibly hard and at times immensely painful, but God has always been there even when I thought He was silent. Becoming a Christian does not guarantee an easy life. Look at Saul - he began to suffer consequences for his conversion immediately after he started proclaiming Jesus. But, when God calls a person to a task, he equips that person for it. Saul could not have achieved what he did in his own strength. He was empowered by God.

Let's remind ourselves that we have been called by name, let's remind ourselves that God wants to use us to advance His kingdom, let's be bold like Saul, let's be willing like Saul, and let's ask God right now if there is anyone who He wants us to reach out to and see what happens...


My prayer for whoever reads this is not to be afraid of being different from the world, for your heart to break for those who don't yet know Jesus, and to ask God how to reach them.

 

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