Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 24: Your Choice: Money or Righteousness?

Imagine having to make a choice between experiencing peace with God and being offered a bribe. In Acts 24 we learn that Paul’s Judge, Felix frequently had him brought from the dungeon into his courtroom under pretense that he was interested in hearing about the gospel. But, secretly Felix was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe (vv. 25-26).

If the great apostle Paul was not being taken too seriously when he shared his faith with this man, yet he persisted nonetheless, it appears that I must follow Paul’s lead in matters like these. How often we give up talking to people about our faith because we’ve spoken with them umpteen times without seeing any noticeable effects of the gospel. In frustration, we often say to ourselves because we don’t dare say it aloud, “I’m not going to waste my time anymore on this person.”

Yet, that was not Paul’s mindset or disposition. Paul practiced a sincere hope in the Lord and in the power of His word. This expectation demonstrated that Paul’s confidence was not in himself, his ability to preach, or his skillfulness in the witnessing of his faith. His hope relied squarely on Jesus Christ and in the power of His word.

Who have you given up on? Who have you stopped sharing your faith with because no noticeable change has occurred in your mind? What theological promise are you basing your actions? Come on, be honest with yourself! Is there a Bible verse that you can use to cite as a proof text justifying your actions to back away from that individual in the continued sharing of your faith? I’m not referring to pestering someone every day about the need for salvation. But, in the same breath I’m not aware of any verse telling us to abandon the person. I think that we can admit exhaustion, frustration, or if we’re biblically slick, we might even dare say that Paul had nothing else to do other than break his monotony and talk with Felix since he was imprisoned.

To that last excuse, we all laugh because we know the real deal. The real deal is we have rendered a decision concerning that “pre-Christian” by saying to ourselves, “Well, he’s aware of his eternal destination. It’s up to him now to make a decision.” Know matter how we slice it; something is very wrong with that thought process. What do you think?


  1. Hello everyone,

    In response to Dr. Ireland’s last question about what we think, me think Pastor D. exposeth me in the open, of course some of us have done it … confession is good for the soul :) - it’s the naughty part of being a Christian (dismiss those who won’t follow and ask for forgiveness later) – All jokes aside, I too questioned Felix’ motives when he kept on having Paul come day after day and in the end which is one thing that always make me sad about this situation is the fact that Paul was refused justice because 1) he didn’t acknowledge the governor’s indirect request for money and 2) the latter wanted to grant a favor to the Jews and I’ll go as far to say that since his wife was also Jew and him being a greedy man he went with the highest bidder in this case the high priest. Social justice is a very hard thing to follow and anyone seeking justice on behalf of the poor or the offended has to be even tempered otherwise justice will not be served. I learned a very good lesson today from Paul’s behavior as pointed out by Dr. Ireland; his sincerity in sharing the gospel is very real. In this scenario Paul could have easily refrained from sharing the gospel since Jesus was not physically present to comfort him each time he encountered pain. I think that’s the beauty of the Damascus road experience, the same way the disciples were with Jesus directly, they knew him personally, this experience gave Paul a deeper understanding of who God is which I believe is why he was very fervent in spreading the gospel and the same fervor that was displayed in persecuting the believers is better appreciated in righteousness and it’s great. I make a commitment today not to dismiss people when they reject me as I’m sharing God’s love to them but rather ask the Holy Spirit to give me the same grace He gave Paul to patiently share the love of Christ to others.

    Everyone have a wonderful day, be blessed.


  2. Good Afternoon,
    This reminds me of the situation I had with my mother. She had been raised in a Christian home and said she had given her life to the Lord when she was young, before I was even born or she had even been married, however, she had been a backslider for many years. I had never known my mother to attend church and she did not teach me about Christ, my great-aunt who used to babysit me did. I had tried many times over the years to "witness" to her but she began to get angry and told me she "doesn't need me to tell her anything about God!" so I left her alone. After a while the Holy Spirit gave me a "burden" or strong nudging to witness again to my mom. I told the Lord, "I don't want to!" because she would get so angry with me but my feelings were no match for the Holy Spirit and when I was obedient my mother's reaction was much softer than it had been. A few weeks later she attended Resurrection Sunday services with me and she rededicated her life to the Lord. As noted in an earlier post, you have remain sensitve to the leading and timing of the Holy Spirit but don't give up. This post has reminded me that I need to continue to witness to my older brothers who have made it crystal clear that they are not interested in Christ. One of my brother's beliefs are similiar to Pastor David's former beliefs, he only believes in Science and what can be proven. So I have to once again press past my emotions and feelings to reach out to the lost in my own family. Thanks for the "pull up" Pastor David.

  3. The reading and this posting today reminded me that it's not about my efforts at sharing the gospel, but it is allowing myself to be a vessel that the Holy Spirit can use. I have to remind myself of this each time I share the good news with unbelievers..... I may not see the external change, but seeds are being sown that at the right time will bear fruit. Nothing that the Holy Spirit instructs us to do is wasted, despite what it looks like in the natural!



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