By Eric Barton
Scripture Reading: Acts 24
Topic: Fully Devoted
Focus Scripture: Acts 24:14-16
I remember driving one time on a one way street and I missed the drive way I intended to turn into. I went one driveway too far… The correct way to get back was to turn right and drive over a mile down the road and turn around, or… I could just turn left, drive the wrong way on a one way road for just a short distance and I could turn into the correct place. **A whole lot faster**
Guess what I did, waited until there were no cars and speed the wrong way to save the time and distance. The easy way wasn’t the right way.
In chapter 24 Paul is on trial in front of the governor Felix and he’s being accused of a lot of things he didn’t do and some things he did, like being a follower of Jesus and spreading his message. As Paul defends himself he denies the false accusations but he has an opportunity… He could have taken the easy way. He could have just denied following Jesus. Denied everything they said. But he boldly declared that he is of the Way (a Jesus follower).
He may could have gone free.
I mean, he would have been better back preaching and planting church’s right. God surely didn’t want him to remain in prison. God would understand just taking the easy way out, right?!?
But Paul boldly declares that he wasn’t looking for their approval (the easy way out) but that he was always striving to have a clear conscience before God and man. In other words, to take the right road, the right way even if it is the harder way. Even if it did mean prison, even if it did mean the ridicule of others.
I’ve realized that the Way of Jesus isn’t always the easy way. I can try to make excuses and justify my actions to step on the easy but wrong path. Jesus would understand if I didn’t stand up…if I just compromised this time…right??!?
But when we are completely surrendered to Jesus, fully convinced of His worth and compelled by his grace, we choose his way even if it is the harder way.
We read later in the chapter that Paul even had the opportunity to bribe Felix to get out. But he remained in for 2 years!
Every day there are opportunities. The Way of Jesus or the Easy way out.
In business do we take the way that looks profitable but we know is wrong or the way this is honest and honors God.. Do I manipulate and cheat my taxes and justify it’s not a big deal? Do I go along with things that I know aren’t God honoring Just because it’s easier? In school will I cheat because I didn’t study and I know the teacher won’t see…
A fully surrendered life is fully surrendered to His way. It is always the best way! Even if in the moment it doesn’t make sense.
Let’s take the example of Paul, declaring that Jesus is the worthy way and that we will walk in his way even if its harder, because we know it’s always better.
Jesus, today I choose your way. Distractions and temptations will come that compel me to choose something that may seem easier, but I am determined to choose you. I fully surrender to your will and to your way. Teach me to trust you when I don’t understand. Holy Spirit give the the boldness to walk in your truth and not just settle for what seems easy. I chose you. Amen