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::Devotional:: ‘Preparing for a Moment of Truth’

August 10, 2009

“When you come to a moment of truth when you must choose whether to obey God, you will not obey Him unless you believe Him.  You cannot trust Him unless you love Him.  You will not love Him unless you know Him” -Henry Blackaby.  As I read this statement this past week from a bible study I am doing, Experiencing God, I began to think about how quickly such a moment of truth can come and go in our lives.  We have to be prepared for the moment when it arrives.  

One of my favorite books of the Bible is the book of Acts written by Luke.  In Acts 9 there is a man named Ananias who is presented with such a moment of truth.  I’ve often admired both his honesty and obedience before the Lord because his response comes across as very relevant to me for some reason.  This week we are going to take a few days to look at Ananias’ moment of truth and pull out some truths that we can apply to our own lives.  Truths that will equip and prepare us for our own moments of truth.

Ananias was a Christian who lived in Damascus.  The Lord called upon him to deliver a message to a man named Saul, who we now know as the Apostle Paul.  Saul was not the favored figure of faith we know through the scriptures at this point of Acts 9.  His reputation preceded him and it was a reputation built on the persecution of Christians.  He was a man to be feared.  In fact, he was was on the road to Damascus to round up Christians and drag them back to Jerusalem to put them on trial and no doubt stone some of them to death.  (He had already been present at one stoning we know of, Acts 7).  Often times we study the salvation experience of Paul on the road to Damascus but I believe we can learn a lot from Ananias here as well.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias.  The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”  “Yes, Lord,” he answered.  The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.  In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”  Acts 9:10-12

At this point, we can already see a few things about Ananias that are important to note before we continue with the passage:

  • Ananias was a Christian (disciple)
  • Ananias lived in Damascus (where Paul was headed to persecute the Christians)
  • Ananias’ name means Jehovah is Gracious (I looked that one up)
  • There is an urgency in the moment, note the exclamation points.

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.  And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”  Acts 9:13-14

Remember I said I felt Ananias’ response was relevant to me?  Doesn’t it sound like something many of us would say?  Here’s a few more things we can take note of from Ananias’ response:

  • Ananias knew exactly who Paul was and what he was doing to Christians
  • Ananias knew Paul was on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians
  • Maybe Ananias had plans to leave town to avoid Paul, maybe if he stayed in town he was planning to hide, definitely he did not want to intentionally cross paths with Paul
  • Ananias was fearful of the command the Lord had given him and he did not hesitate to explain that to God, no doubt looking for reassurance.

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go!  This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”  Acts 9:15-16

When you come to a moment of truth, are you prepared?

The urgency of this moment of truth is evident.  “Ananias! Go!” the Lord said.  There wasn’t time for Ananias to prepare for this moment, in the moment.  He simply had to decide and take action.  However, what he had already been doing is what prepared him for the moment.  

Prepared by the Word:

He knew that he could be open with the Lord when he was scared.  How did he know that?  I think it probably had to do with reading through Scriptures like the Psalms David wrote.  

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4

Just think what kind of impact a passage like Psalm 56:3-4 could have on someone in a situation like Ananias.  Perhaps even other Christians in Damascus who had faced persecution and held onto verses such as this helped Ananias to grasp the truth of the scriptures.

Prepared by Prayer:

I wonder if Ananias had prayed even that morning “Lord I am concerned about Saul of Tarsus coming to Damascus to arrest me.  If it be your will, would you protect me and somehow work a miracle to prevent him from doing so?”.  I know myself, if I prayed a prayer like that, I would expect that the miracle would be that God somehow turned Saul around and prevented him from even stepping foot into Damascus.  However, God often answers our prayers in ways that we never even imagined.   The purpose of prayer is not so that we can get what we want but rather so that God can get what he wants.  It is designed to get our hearts and minds on the same page with God’s will.  Ananias was prepared through prayer as his heart was sensitive to God’s actions in this situation.  Wouldn’t you and I be praying fervently to God if we knew someone was coming to our church Sunday to arrest Christians?  Would we even go?

If we are not prepared and ready for a moment of truth when it arrives, there won’t be time to prepare for it then.  It is but a moment.  Perhaps missing a moment of truth will be that catalyst to get us active in preparation for the next one, but the one we missed we have missed forever.  It is good to fill our hearts with scripture because it can often help us manage our emotions.  However, I think that filling our minds with scripture is where the preparation really begins.  We’ve got to have something in our toolbox when it comes to for us to work, you know?  Our preparation in prayer is what is going to help us develop a sensitivity to the Lord and the ability to dialogue with him about our lives, our concerns, our moments of truth.  Let’s take some time and prepare ourselves through the word and through prayer today.  Find a verse that is applicable to your life right now and memorize it.  Then take the time to dialogue with God about the verse and ask him to help you understand and experience his power through that verse in your life.  You might just end up preparing yourself for a moment of truth that will come later today.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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