Altar Vision Devotional - Week 9

Surrender, no matter what!

Scripture

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

Reflection

The Apostle Paul gives us an example of what it means to live out the Gospel, fulfilling God’s purpose for his life. He is an imperfect person, but his life can serve as an example to us. He knew what his purpose was, and he lived his life empowered by that purpose, despite opposition and suffering.

Paul’s purpose was given to Ananias shortly after Paul encountered the risen Christ. He was told he was to go to go and proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. Then Jesus said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16) These words were given to Ananias, who passed it on to Paul, so he was fully aware of the purpose God had for him. (Acts 22:10)

Isn’t it interesting that God has two things for Paul to do? One is proclamation, which we are very familiar with. The other is suffering, which we probably don’t like to think about so much. Paul willingly took up both. Later in his life Paul said, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:22-24)

The connection between each thing God had for Paul to do, was that living out the one – proclamation, was going to bring the other. Paul goes to Jerusalem to proclaim the Gospel to the rulers and that brings suffering. Paul knew his purpose and surrendered to that, no matter what that meant for him.

As you see God’s purpose for your life and surrender to it, that may well bring suffering. The purpose and the suffering will be different for each of us. God’s purpose may be to stay or to go, to work in business or full-time vocational ministry, to be single or to marry. We need to surrender to that and embrace all that comes with that surrender.

Discover your purpose and live it out. Accept it. Own it, because through it we share the fellowship of Jesus who suffered in our place, and the love of the Father.

Prayer

Lord, help me in my weakness to embrace that which you have called me to. Give me the discernment to see it, the strength to surrender to it and the fortitude to endure the suffering.

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