I have recently read through the Book of Acts. This book brings me awe. It humbled me, challenged me, and taught me. It brought me to tears more than a few times. It depicts a radical faith, one that I can only strive to have. It’s a story of one man taking on the ancient world with a big story, the story of Christ.
One thing struck me. God works in unexpected ways that are way bigger than anything we could imagine or foresee. To give you a bit of background, Paul was a Roman citizen and an expert Jew, highly trained. He was a Christian hater and torturer. This very same man, who after meeting God on a road in a radical way, turned his life around and spent his life telling everyone everywhere about the hope of Christ. Wow. Just wow!
God is just as powerful and awesome today. We can choose to serve and believe in the same Lord. This great story doesn’t end here.
Paul was beaten, jailed, threatened, disowned, rejected, shipwrecked, stood trials from Jerusalem to traveling to Rome from false accusations, and yet he never wavered. He stood strong. He refused to give up. He refused to back down, even in the face of death.
How God works can sure be ironic at times, and yet so effective. God works in the unexpected. Paul had to stand trial for his faith more than once. And what did he choose to do at these trials? This radical man chose to tell entire courtrooms of powerful and influential people of his day about his conversion story from a radical Christian-torturer to becoming a radical follower of Jesus. He witnessed to entire rooms of prominent people. This infuriated the crowds of accusers. The Jewish people plotted to kill him.
But being born a Roman citizen gave him a very unique vantage point. Not just any one could mess with him. Being a Roman citizen gave him access to Roman law. A Roman citizen could not be punished until being guilty of a crime. So Paul appears before a Roman Governor, and shares his same story. But they cannot find him guilty. And he appears again before a King with all his prominent men and military officers, and shares his story again. And once that is inconclusive, Paul appeals to Caesar and is sent to Rome where he spends the next 2 years freely sharing the Good news of Christ.
See the irony in this all? The more he stood firm in what he believed and spoke truth, the grander the audiences God gave him to speak in front of. He was able to witness to the most influential people in the ancient world at that time. He shared God’s story with sincerity and passionate conviction. The Jews in Jerusalem falsely accused him hoping to get him sentenced to death. Instead they set the stage for Paul to share his story on an even larger and grander scale than anyone could have imagined. God had a plan, and Paul trusted God to fulfill that plan even when Paul did not see how that would happen.
What faith! What an example he left us.
I challenge you to live out your faith in a big way. We are not all given grand stages on which to proclaim God’s story, but we definitely can proclaim it. Live with so much integrity that your life tells a story. Take the road less traveled. Reach out and love your neighbors, your co-workers, your family, your friends, even those difficult people that seem impossible. Show love in a world of haters. Choose to walk by faith in a fact-based world. Choose to forgive when you have been hurt. Be the person who you always wish you had in your life.
You will never regret taking the high road in life.