This week in our WayPoints Series we are looking at Acts 8. The Church is growing but the opposition is growing as well. In fact, in the previous chapter we have the story of Stephen; the first martyr recorded in Scripture. As Acts 8 begins we are told: “1On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3But Saul began to destroy the church.”
Right from the very beginning we see that the church has always not only faced opposition but has “excelled” when forced into refinement. We pray for peace filled lives and removal of difficulties but I am not always so sure we see things the way God does. By the way, I pray for peace and the removal of tough stuff for me and the people I love all the time! I just need to ask for God’s perspective at the same time.
Back to our text and the topic of possibly “living in a new direction.” Have you ever heard of the Apostle Paul? He is often referred to as the greatest missionary in history. You may or may not realize that you have just been introduced to him in the previous verses from Acts 8. He wasn’t always known as Paul. The first half of his life he was known as Saul of Tarsus. He was a passionate and learned man. He was highly thought of within the Jewish power structure and we meet him in verse 3 as the one that “began to destroy the church.”
That’s right! Paul’s initial interaction with the church was to do all in his power to destroy it. How is that for being off track or in a deep rut? Nothing is too difficult for God. The resurrected Jesus confronted Paul later in the book of Acts and changed him into a man that literally gave his life for what he once was trying to destroy. This God of ours is still on the move today taking misdirected, messed up and even lazy lives; then igniting them into lives of eternal significance. God Almighty wants to do that in our lives today. Remember, He can redeem it all! Nothing is wasted in the way God sets us free.