The 5 R’s
Story by Ken Graves
Few, if any, people have exercised as much influence on all of humanity, outside of the Son of God Himself, than Saul who became Paul the Apostle. Much of the New Testament is dedicated to his story and what God did through him.
Check out these five elements at work making Saul of Tarsus become our beloved Apostle Paul.
1. Revelation of Who Jesus Christ is and What He Has Done
Jesus Christ’s appearance to Saul changed Saul and changes us.
Saul goes on a mission to crush the Christian movement but is confronted by a blinding light. While on the ground, face down, a voice calls him by name: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4b). Saul, the Number One highest-achieving student from the most popular rabbi in Jerusalem, has to admit what he doesn’t know. He lifts his face from the dirt to ask, “Who art Thou, Lord?” (Acts 9:5a).
The Lord answers him, and the first thing this Old Testament scholar hears is: “I AM” (Acts 9:5b). With that, he knows he is being confronted by the same God Who confronted Moses at the burning bush: I AM. Imagine what happened to his whole world, when “I AM” was followed by: “Jesus whom thou persecutest!” (Acts 9:5b). Saul realizes that in fighting against Christians, he’s been fighting God. What a horrible realization, but what a beautiful revelation! God is Who He says He is!
Saul realizes Jesus is God, that He came to Earth as a man, died on the Cross causing the justice of God to be satisfied, and fulfilled every single prophetic type and shadow of every sacrifice all the way from Eden to His Resurrection and beyond. The revelation of these truths changes us just as it changed Saul.
2. Realization of our Duty
A realization of duty caused Saul to say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6a). The emphasis of Scripture is Who God is and all that He has done for us. When we walk in light of that, we find ourselves saying, “Whatever I can do for Him is the least I can do.” Later, as the Apostle Paul, he says:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
If we will have the proper revelation of Who God is and what He has done, we will find ourselves, like Saul, suddenly realizing what our life has been given to us for. Every single talent we have and position we’ve been given is for the glory of God. It’s the least we can do.
3. Reliance on the Holy Spirit
We see reliance on the Holy Spirit when Ananias says, “The Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hast sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:17b). If you simply have a revelation of Who Christ is and realize you have a duty to Him, but then go about trying to do your duty in your own human strength, you will be a frustrated Christian. Instead, allow the Spirit of God to change you. I realize we need to cooperate with God and what He’s doing, but ultimately, I must remember that it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that the Apostle Paul writes about (Galatians 5:22-23). How does fruit happen? A tree simply abides. It grows by the genius of God. Trees aren’t working to produce fruit.
It’s the same with you and me if we will abide in the Lord. Quit working and just abide. Spend time with the Lord. He’ll produce fruit.
4. Repetition of Daily Disciplines
Acts 9:22a says, “But Saul increased the more in strength.” Increase in strength comes by regular exercise. Let the Lord produce fruit, but at the same time Paul told Timothy essentially, “Timothy, there’s some benefit to bodily exercise, but exercising yourself to godliness will benefit you eternally. You have to have your priorities right, Tim” (1 Timothy 4:8). There are spiritual exercises. Use them to train yourself unto godliness.
5. Relationships God Wants to Use
Lastly, please notice that all through Saul’s life, there were people who played a part. It was Ananias who came to Saul. The Lord could have just spoken as He already had. He could have just healed Saul of his blindness and filled him with the Holy Spirit, but He chose to work through Ananias.
God works through people. He wants to use you in the life of others, and He wants to use others in your life. I was sure when I arrived in Bangor at the age of 20 and full of myself, that God called me here to build a church. As it turns out, God was going to use a church to build me. God has over and over used people in my life, and I want God to use me in the lives of others. God wants to use you in the life of someone as he used Ananias in Paul’s life and as He used Paul in Timothy’s life.
All verses above are quoted from the King James Version.
© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.