Wednesday, July 27 – Acts 9:10-16
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer in behalf of My name.”
Have you ever felt like someone was out to get you? Whether in your mind or in reality, it is a hard feeling to move past. Having the inclination that someone doesn’t like you or is outright opposed to you makes it difficult to love them or even say a kind word about them. It was no secret; Paul was out to get followers of Jesus. His reputation proceeded him, which made this calling of God not only difficult but scary.
When we think about “those people” that seem like they are against us, it is hard to muster up anything but a critical word. Praise God that we do not have to love people in our own power or ability or even because they deserve it! If you are a follower of Jesus, you have been changed by God and loved when you did not deserve it. This is a precious gift we get to share with others. Jesus taught this in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors, do they not do the same?” (Matthew 5:44-46). Despite his hesitations, Ananias trusted what God said over Paul’s past or even his own feelings.
- Who are some of the enemies in your life? What steps should you take toward loving them?
- What would it look like to trust God over your negative thoughts or feelings about another person?
- Pray and ask God to bring to mind the people whom you have animosity with. Ask Him to show you how to love them with His love.