Reading the Bible, one shifts at some point from looking to the individuals in the Bible as amazing role models to focusing on how God graciously and miraculously used them in spite of their, at times, colorful personality flaws or even downright sinfulness. Other than Jesus Christ Himself, God in the flesh, I can’t think of one person who didn’t, along with their great deeds of faith, have some pretty convicting failures stacked against them. Sometimes their foolishness strikes me as funny, but most of the time it fills my heart with such gratitude to know that my God doesn’t require perfection to let us be part of His story. In Acts, chapter 23, Paul gives an excellent example of righteous justice gone bad. Paul knew the Jewish laws well and knew that his rights for a fair hearing were being wrongly denied. And how did he respond? He stood up
for himself by calling out his judges’ wrong.
“Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, ‘Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.’ The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, ‘God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?’” (Acts 23:1-3)
However, in standing up for his rights, he too violated God’s commands and was called out for speaking against the high priest’s authority (Acts 23:5).
In the process of representing the resurrection of Christ, his own hot temper and sinfulness, one might say, ruined the chance God gave Paul to represent Him. He even had to confess publicly—how humiliating! However, as we read further, that very night the Lord appeared to Paul with encouraging words:
But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, ‘Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.’ Acts 23:11
I love how God does not require us to be 100% christlike all the time in order for Him to accomplish His work through us and bring praise to His name! We stand on the foundation of Christ alone for righteousness. How encouraging to be able to bask in God’s forgiveness by humbling ourselves when wrong (as Paul did), and still know God can continue to use us to spread the message of hope and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4
About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.