Vicki and I had a chance to spend a little time with our granddaughter, Rilyn, over the weekend, and because she had a fever and cold-like symptoms her parents wanted to give her some medication. Well, wouldn’t you know it, even though the little tyke was feeling miserable, she refused to take the medicine.
At first Mitchell spoke gently, trying to convince her that the medication would help her feel better and that if she didn’t take it, she would only be hurting herself. When that didn’t work, he tried bribing her saying, “If you take your medicine I’ll buy a Porsche for you when you get older.” For some reason, that didn’t work so he played the “threat” card. “OK fine, if you don’t take your medicine, I won’t ever let you date anyone.” She still didn’t care; however, after some persistent words of encouragement she finally took her medicine.
Sound familiar? Yes, we’re all like Rilyn aren’t we, we’re sick and hurting in so many ways, and God is constantly offering remedies of love that would help alleviate the pain and provide healing, but we refuse to open wide and swallow the medicine.
Apparently, such was also the case with the Apostle Paul. In sharing his testimony with King Agrippa, Paul was telling how at one time he was so spiritually sick, in fact he was so sick he admitted to being obsessed with persecuting Christians—and by punishing Christians he actually thought he was earning God’s favor. Now that is sick. Here Jesus had come to set him free from trying to earn God’s favor, but he refused to accept God’s gift that would spiritually heal him.
Paul tells the story in Acts 26 this way, “12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
Here, Jesus confronted Paul with the foolishness of kicking against the “goads”. An ox goad was a stick that was used to help prod the cattle in the right direction. Jesus was saying, I’ve laid down my life in order to get you going in the right direction, but you keep resisting; you’re only hurting yourself.
As I watched Rilyn refuse to take her medication, I began to reflect on how many times my Heavenly Father patiently and lovingly offered me some spiritual medication. More than likely it was in the form of a golden nugget of truth, and yet I folded my arms and stubbornly refused to accept his help. But then like Rilyn, in most cases, I would eventually give in, open wide and swallow. (I say in most cases, because there are still areas of my life where I foolishly and pridefully kick against the goads).
And how about you; in what ways have you resisted God’s efforts to get you going in the right direction? In what ways have you been fighting against God’s effort to bring revival and healing in your life? You’d rather eat with the pigs than come back home. You’re going to hang on to your right to get revenge and you’re not going to forgive. You’re going to keep making work a priority over family. You’re going to continue to resist or quench the voice of Truth.
May it be said of us that we would humble our stubborn hearts and that we will be quick to open our hearts wide in order to receive the medicine of God’s goodness and love. And then like Paul, may we reach out to our friends and neighbors, “18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus” (Acts 26:18). Under His mercy, Mike

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