In Acts 9 we find the Commission/Conversion of Saul of Tarsus. On his way to Damascus, the light flashes, the voice booms, and Saul falls to the ground. He asks, “Who are you, Lord?” Jesus answers, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” As Saul got to his feet he realized he was blind. Notice the difference in Saul between 9:1-2 (confident and able) and 9:8-9 (blind, led by the hand, and totally dependent). We often have to be completely humbled and helpless before we are ready to fully rely on God. Even though Saul does not yet realize it he is relying for direction and healing on the very one he persecutes. [I think it is interesting to note that Jesus asks Saul, “why do you persecute me?” when Saul had never met Jesus or harmed him. To harm the church is to harm Christ. If more people treated the church and their brothers and sisters that way we would have far fewer problems in the church].
In Damascus Jesus speaks to another man, a disciple named Ananias. He is told to go and restore the sight of this well known persecutor of the church, Saul of Tarsus. Ananias’ response is understandably hesitant. But Jesus reassures him, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (9:15-16). Ananias found himself in a position of comfort and security. He could have stayed home and avoided Saul and potential persecution but that would not have involved relying on God. The next verse, “Then Ananias went to the house and entered it.” He relied on God even if it meant he had to risk something, even if it meant he had to stick his neck out or potentially “take one for the team.”
The problem today is we don’t define “fully relying on God” the same way they did. We like the last three words but often leave out the first. We might rely on God when it comes to our prayer life but not when it comes to out business ethics. We might rely on God when it comes to our entertainment choices but not when it comes to our sexuality. We might rely on God when it comes to studying our Bibles but not when it comes to putting into practice what we have read. We might rely on God when it comes to our job but not when it comes to our retirement. Hands on when I am sick but hands off when I am well. What does it take to fully rely on God? It takes risking it all. It takes giving up on your own ability and trusting his. It takes removing all obstacles or barriers that keep God out of different areas of our life and letting him mold and shape everything. We don’t have to understand it all first. Saul certainly didn’t understand the fullness of who this voice was and yet he had to trust him. Ananias trusted God because he did know who Christ was and he trusted the call.
Reliance requires trust. Before you can fully rely on God you have to fully trust him. If you don’t trust God be careful or else you may find yourself blind, humbled and your life torn apart. If that happens to you don’t think it a bad thing, like Saul it might just be the best thing that ever happens to you. What is keeping you from fully relying on God?