Raw Courage and a Pure Heart

 

Paul looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.

When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

From Acts 13:6-12

Sometimes walking with God means being direct with people who obstruct others from encountering God. I see Paul confronting Bar-Jesus in a meek and gentle, yet firm way.

Meekness, humility, gentleness, and honest directness aren’t opposites. They exist in the tension of godly character.

Paul didn’t curse on Bar-Jesus. He simply told him what God is going to do. This sadly reminds me of the day when I told one of my employees that his little son would grow up without a dad if he didn’t change his ways. I told him he would either be in prison or dead. He let drugs and alcohol take him down, and a few years later he tragically died.

How did Paul relate to the religious phonies of his day? I’m sure he saw them. He likely didn’t address them unless the Lord told him to. When I think about the religious phonies in our community, I feel sick inside. I know God is patient and wants them to come out from behind their masks.

I was a religious phony for many years. I was sick inside and full of turmoil. I held up a front and wanted people to think I had it together. God found me inside my deep hole and wooed me out. Sometimes God hit me hard too, probably when I was trying to influence others to follow my perverted, compromised ways.

I’m blinded with rage at the religious phonies who influence others and obstruct them from finding God. Perhaps that’s what Paul was feeling. As forcefully as Paul spoke, he likely restrained some of his anger.

Yet he spoke. And by speaking powerful truth, the governor, whose spiritual sight was being obstructed by Bar-Jesus, saw Jesus and came to faith. I want to spare my friends from the religious wizards and sorcerers who prevent them from seeing God.

God, give me a pure heart and this raw courage.

Phillip

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