I love Jesus! Ever since I became a Jesus follower, I have wanted to do big things for him to make his name great! But the gifts God has given me are not “up front.” They’re not obvious, like those of an artist or musician, but they are just as vital. I like to think of them as “show up” gifts. I am a woman of action, and I faithfully take God with me everywhere I go. I have learned in my life of following Jesus that using these gifts isn’t hard, nor is it difficult to do the small things he asks me to do in preparation for the bigger things.
I think the lesson from Acts about Ananias and the role he played in the life of Saul is a great example for me and you!
Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord!” he replied.
So Ananias was a believer, and he was obviously in a place where he could hear from God. Where is that place for you? Maybe you heard him loud and clear when he called you to follow him. But perhaps the sound of his voice has diminished over time. If so, chances are, it’s because your life has crowded out his voice.
This was not Ananias’s problem. He responded, “Yes, Lord.” I’ll bet it wasn’t the first time, because his response was immediate and confident. When you decide to practice hearing God’s voice—and it does take practice—you’ll get better at it. As you’re doing those small, daily things he’s asking from you, he’s preparing you for bigger things.
In fact, in our story, Ananias was on such familiar terms with God that he pushed back a little on his request.
11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”
13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”
Ananias didn’t say he wouldn’t go, but he questioned the message in light of the facts he knew. It is important for us to discern the invitation, to make sure we’ve heard it right.
15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
So, we see that after Ananias confirmed what he heard from God, he went, trusting God with the outcome.
Ananias followed God’s instructions and laid his hands on Saul—the rest is history! What he did was no big deal. It didn’t take a lot of training or education, but Ananias easily could have said, “Lord, I’ve never laid hands on anyone before! I don’t really know if I can even find that street, and how will I know who Saul is?”
What would have happened if Ananias had not made a practice of hearing from God and responding to his call? We’ll never know. Saul, who became Paul, wrote a large portion of the Christian scriptures. The theology we have today is largely based on Paul’s exposition of Jesus’ life and teachings.
What might happen if you fail to discern the call God has for you? What is your God-given purpose that will take you on the life-changing adventure of following him? (Read the rest of Acts if you think the life of a Christ-follower is boring or without meaning!)
At CedarCreek, we love to say that God has a plan and a purpose for your life, but you have to show up! I promise you, you will never be sorry you spent time with Jesus!
Will you commit to carving out space for God every day? Will you invite someone to hold you accountable to that commitment?
We are all busy, but typically we will find time for the things that are important to us. Set a goal to spend time with God for 30 days, and commit to it. Tell your accountability partner. Better yet, get them to do it with you!
Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier than normal for 2 weeks and spend that time reading the LivingItOut.
Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier in weeks 3 & 4 and engage in a study on the YouVersion Bible app.
Set an alarm to join morning prayer at 7:30am on the CedarCreek Instagram or Facebook pages.
Heavenly Father, thank you for wanting to guide and direct my life in your love and grace. Help me in our noisy world to make space to hear your voice. Give me the desire and the courage to do the things you ask me to do for your kingdom and your glory. Give me wisdom when I’m not sure of the message and put people with wisdom in my life to help. In your beautiful name I pray, amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.
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