“Earlier this morning,” Stan commented, “I saw another aspect of the truth of what the apostle Paul wrote to his friend Timothy about all Scripture being profitable for teaching and training.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“I was reading in the Book of Acts and saw something I had not seen before where the apostle Paul was describing his encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus.”
“Where Jesus interrupted Paul’s journey, along with his eternal destination and his life in general?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And Paul’s description of what Jesus said caused me to go to the dictionary to better understand the relationship between what Paul wrote and my faith walk.”
“A Bible dictionary?” I asked.
“Nope,” Stan replied, “just a regular one. And before you ask, no, it didn’t say anything specific about my Christian faith walk!”
“So what were you looking for?”
“The apostle Paul wrote that Jesus said to him, ‘It is hard for you to kick against the goads’. I didn’t know what that meant.”
“And you found out?”
“I think so,” Stan replied. “It seems that farmers used pointed sticks to encourage the oxen to do what the farmers wanted in plowing the fields and that sort of thing. The pointed sticks were called ‘goads’. Apparently, the farmers would poke the animals with the goads in places where they couldn’t kick the goads away.”
“Thus,” he continued, “it seems that Jesus was saying to Paul that it would be hard for Paul to resist the truth of Christ that was presented.”
“He couldn’t kick it away,” I commented. “Pretty vivid word picture!”
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “And as I reflected on this, it became clear to me that it was and is the same thing with me.
“Was and is? How so?”
“After way too long,” Stan replied, “I finally came to accept the truth of God’s provision of life eternally with Him when my time here is completed. The truth was so obvious that I could no longer reject it or kick it away.”
“And,” he continued, “as I live the life God has given me to live on this side of eternity, it seems that the Holy Spirit is constantly having to poke me so I change direction and go the way He has for me to go, rather than the direction I want to go apart from God.”
“Does it hurt when the Holy Spirit pokes you like that?” I asked with a smile.
“No,” Stan replied, “He’s usually kind and gentle in His poking. But what does hurt is the realization that I need to be poked in a way I can’t resist or kick away. That hurts because I realize I have been resisting what He wants to do in and through me.”
“That sounds kind of like repentance,” I said. “Agree?”
“Amen, my friend,” Stan replied. “Goaded into repentance because God wants me to change direction and go the way He wants!”
Bible verses to consider:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts of the Apostles 26:14.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for those who brought me to the truth of your provision so I quit resisting and rejecting what you had provided through the finished work of the cross. Even though I have the assurance of salvation and redemption you have provided, and I know I will spend eternity with you, I confess that there are too many times when I resist what you want to do in and through me. Please forgive the foolishness of that resistance, and thank you for not giving up on me! Please, Father, continue showing me all you have for me to be and to do while you keep me on this side of eternity. Please keep encouraging me to move forward in my relationship with you, using whatever you know is needed to goad me into responding to you with the repentance you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you stopped resisting and rejecting God’s provision so you know you will spend eternity in His presence? If no, why? What keeps you resisting and rejecting? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how about your resistance and rejection on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for change in repentance and in being totally open to whatever God has for you to be and to do, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?