Because of our nature and the way higher education is expected of us before committing ourselves to the Lord’s work, we have learned to put more stock in what others think we should do than receiving directions from the Lord. It was very different for Paul. He must have learned by the valuable example in Ananias and Barnabas. Ananias had “heard from many about” Saul and was very hesitant to minister to a man that openly persecuted the Church. “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine...” (Acts 9:15).
After Saul’s conversion in Damascus, “he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:26–27).
When it comes to living out our purpose, Paul’s life is a model of how this is done. He understood the gospel of grace by divine revelation (Galatians 1:12). After receiving the call from the Lord, he “did not immediately consult with anyone, nor did [he] go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before [him], but [he] went away into Arabia” (1:16-17). As Paul gained understanding directly through the Holy Spirit in the gospel, so he relied on Him for direction for ministry.
Many will quote Proverbs 11:14 to me as a proof that we all need many counselors to know which way to go in life and ministry, and there is a certain truth to that. But the greater danger is not having the eyes and ears of our hearts tuned to the Holy Spirit. I would propose that the greatest work in life and ministry is accomplished by those who have keen eyes and ears to the Spirit. After all, He is the Helper and Counselor (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).
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