How to impact lives for Christ in gentle obedience?

Know God, stand firm and take action

By Hannah Peled 

Apostle Paul, also known as Saul, played a significant role in bringing the Gospel to Gentiles. But prior to his conversion, Saul fiercely persecuted Christians. It took a drastic encounter with the Lord for Saul to change. In the process, God sent an ordinary disciple called Ananias to minister to him.  

In Acts 9, God spoke to Ananias in a vision to go and pray for Saul. Ananias was afraid, because at that point Saul was known to “breath out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples”. Nevertheless, Ananias trusted and obeyed the Lord.  

When Ananias saw Saul, instead of being bitter towards Saul for his past cruel deeds against the believers, he came with gentleness, calling him “Brother Saul”. Ananias laid hand to pray for Saul to regain his sight and be filled with God’s Spirit.  

Why did God send Ananias to go and pray for Saul, instead of healing him directly?  

Photo by Unsplash/Aaron Burden

Firstly, God delights to let His children partner with Him in His work. We can be His instruments in helping others – no matter how insignificant we may think we are. God can work through you if you are “FAT”, that is, Faithful, Available and Teachable. And in the process, you grow in faith!  

Secondly, through Ananias, Saul was able to connect with the disciples in Damascus and experience the love of God through His people. There is no one-person church or stand-alone believer in God’s kingdom. As much as Saul was well versed in Scriptures and zealous for God, he needed to be part of God’s Family in order “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:18-19)  

The role of Ananias in Saul’s conversion might seem small, but it was significant. How can we be like Ananias – to touch another life for the Lord, in simple obedience and with gentleness?  
We can look to another example in the Bible – Daniel. 

Photo by Hampden United Methodist Church

Daniel 11:32 says: “The people who know their god shall stand firm and take action.”  

  1. Know our God 

For Daniel and his friends, they knew they were taken into captivity because of God’s purpose – that God was the one who gave them into the hand of Babylonian king (Daniel 1:2). God also gave them favour and compassion in the eye of their enemy (1:9) and God gave them learning and skills (1:17). They understood that God is the One who reigns and raises up kings and removes kingdoms.  

  1. Stand firm  

Though they had to serve in an ungodly kingdom, they did not follow the way of the ungodly (1:8). When they were told to worship the king’s golden image or refrain from praying to the Lord, they stood firm in faith and did not compromise despite threats to their lives (3:16-18; 6).  

  1. Take action  

Because they knew God wanted them to be His catalyst for righteousness in the world and to speak His truth to the ungodly, they did not shrink from delivering God’s word when being asked and they served their appointed roles in Babylonian kingdom with an excellent spirit such that even their enemies could not find fault (6:3-4).  

We too are called to be God’s agents of change in this world to shine as light, to be in the world but not of the world. It starts from knowing God and aligning ourselves to His purpose. 

As parents and educators, we have the privilege to help our children know God and discover their God-given potential.  

Perhaps some of them will grow up to be like Daniel, or like Ananias, to proclaim God’s truth and impact many lives. We may not see the fruits immediately but as we faithfully sow seeds of truth and water them with love, let us trust God for the harvest to come!  

Reflect and Respond

  1. How can you be God’s instrument in impacting lives for Christ in small but significant ways?
  2. What seeds have you sown in the past that has bore fruit today?

Read with your child

How would you react if you hear someone say bad things about Jesus? Would you be seething with anger if your friends make fun of your faith as a Christian? Our first instinct when someone provokes us is usually to lash out using harsh words or rough actions. You may be thinking, “What’s wrong with that?” After all you are defending Jesus and your faith. 

Jesus doesn’t want us to defend him and our faith using violence or harsh words. He wants us to stand firm in our faith and defend him with love and gentleness. Choosing to respond in love and gentleness when we are provoked is not easy. However, we have the Holy Spirit in us which we can call on to help us. Every day, let us choose to stand firm in our faith in love and gentleness.  

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