Acts 9:1 (NIV) Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest
Acts 9:2 (NIV) and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
Acts 9:3 (NIV) As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
Acts 9:4 (NIV) He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Acts 9:5 (NIV) “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.
Acts 9:6 (NIV) “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Acts 9:7 (NIV) The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.
Acts 9:8 (NIV) Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.
Acts 9:9 (NIV) For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
The Lord dropped this passage into my heart this morning as I was praying. There was some insight He gave me at the same time.
Saul, later was know as Paul, was a man full of zeal. He thought he was doing what was a good thing by “breathing out murderous threats” against the Lord’s disciples. But Jesus showed him something entirely different. Paul didn’t realize what spirit he was actually operating under. He wasn’t the first one to have to be told this by Jesus. Notice what Jesus did in the following verses.
Luke 9:53 (NKJV) But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:54 (NKJV) And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
Luke 9:55 (NKJV) But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
Luke 9:56 (NKJV) “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
Verse 55 sums up how Jesus wants us to respond in each circumstance we encounter. He rebuked the disciples by telling them they didn’t know what manner of spirit they were of. In other words, it wasn’t the same Spirit that He is of. Paul was under that same kind of spirit the disciples were under. They thought they were doing a good thing, but it wasn’t God’s way. It looked good, and in the case of the disciples, what they proposed was righting something that was wrong. But Jesus told them that was not the right spirit. In Paul’s case, he was going against a group of people who weren’t doing anything wrong. Jesus told Him he was wrong and told him He would show him what He wanted him to do. As a result, rather than breathing out murderous threats, he became one of the most influential people in history, writing 2/3 of the New Testament and teaching us the beautiful message of grace in those same writings.
The most important question we can ask ourselves before we do anything in life is, what spirit am I operating under if I do this thing? Love is the only spirit we must operate in if we want to be on God’s side.
This is what love does:
Proverbs 10:12 (NLT) Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses.
1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. ❤