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Being Persuaded (Acts 21)

“And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, ‘The will of the Lord be done!’” (Acts 21:14)

When we hold to an unwavering position in any area of life, there is always some deep-rooted conviction behind it. We may be convinced of a lie or of the truth, or even of some personal preference that actually matters nothing in light of eternity. From what color the shades should be to which instruments we will use to worship God, there are a million hills on which one may choose to die. What an awful mistake to die on the wrong hill! Jesus Christ Himself is the only one worthy of our martyrdom. And when the Lord Jesus is revealed to us and God Himself is the one behind our convictions, no argument in heaven or on earth can persuade us otherwise.

In Acts chapter 21, Paul is urged by a group of disciples “not to set foot in Jerusalem” (21:4). After travelling further, more disciples begin “begging him not to go up to Jerusalem,” but we read that Paul “would not be persuaded” (21:14). Yet, it is “through the Spirit” that these brothers urged Paul (21:4). We should note that the Holy Spirit was not forbidding Paul from going to Jerusalem, but the warning being pressed upon the hearts of the disciples and prompting them to speak in this way to Paul was a warning that came from the Holy Spirit. It is possible to receive God’s warning, and yet to come to a conclusion that differs from His will. After all, we want to keep our loved ones safe. However, Paul was not swayed by the threat of suffering for the Name of Jesus. In actuality, he would carry out the remainder of his ministry as a prisoner.

This unwillingness to be persuaded by the voice of “reason” is rare and powerful. There had to be a force in Paul’s life stronger than his desire to avoid danger, imprisonment, and death. He must have been more deeply persuaded of something else! Otherwise, the innate pull of self-preservation would have prevailed. But Paul was unmoved by self-preservation, because, in his own words, something else had gripped him: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

What persuades your decision making? What determines your choice of right or left at each turn?

Is there some fact of life, or some fear of death, that is keeping you from going forward in the will of God? If so, begin to stare into the truth of God. See His promises again; be “persuaded” as Paul was. The honest declaration, “I am persuaded…,” will guard you from being swayed into future compromise. My choices should not contradict the overwhelming triumph of the love of God in my life, through Christ Jesus.

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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