Giving Up The Fight

Reading: Acts Chapter 26

By Pastor Jason

"It is hard for you to kick against the goads" (Acts 26:14).

Saul, now Paul, stood before King Agrippa to defend himself against the accusations of the Jews.  But not like so many of us...defending ourselves to win an argument or prove a point, or to get ourselves out of the situation we find ourselves in.  No…Paul was defending himself by telling King Agrippa of his conversion, more importantly preaching the gospel!  The entire circumstance of being in chains and standing before King Agrippa with permission to speak freely (Acts 26:1), was God’s will and Paul knew it!  This was all part of God’s purpose for Paul!

When Paul was Saul, he was making a strange trip. He was heading away from Jerusalem, away from the temple, away from everything he loved.  Why?  He was on a search-and-destroy mission against the church of Christ.  Then Saul met the one he thought was still back in Jerusalem.  God showed up on the road, to be more specific, Jesus Christ showed up!  He reminded Saul that you can no more fight the ascended Savior than an ox can fight the will of the farmer who guides the plow. “It is hard for you to kick against the goads,” (Acts 26:14) Jesus said to him.  A goad is a spiked or spurred stick; a sharp farming tool used to guide cattle or oxen.  If the cattle kicked against it, they would hurt themselves.  Therefore, as Paul kicked against the guidance of Jesus, he was only hurting himself.  Have you done the same?  If you do, you succeed only in hurting yourself.   

We all face decisions about the direction our life should take.  The first 38 years of my life I wrestled with what direction my life would take.  Athletics, Military, Sales, Business, I tried it all.  God had other plans.  From a place of alcohol and homelessness, I stopped fighting.  6 months after I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, I met someone for the first time, who is now a family friend.  He asked me, “Are you done fighting?”  Not knowing anything about me, or having met me before, the Holy Spirit showed him that 6 months ago I had stopped fighting and kicking against the will of God!

Only when I stopped kicking against the goads and pursued God’s call to preach the gospel did I have peace.  Where is God leading you?  Maybe you know the answer, but you are fighting His plans.  Maybe God's intentions and will seem too hard or too difficult.  But Jesus made a promise to Saul.  And he makes that same promise to you and I.  Jesus reminds us that His burden is light (Matthew 11:29).  Does that sound possible?  It is!  You'll learn the truth of those words as you hear his voice and obey.

We all have questions.  I had questions.  Even King Agrippa had questions when he asked Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains” (Acts 26:28-29).  In other words, regardless of the chains and imprisonment, Paul was at peace with God.  Free to continue sharing his testimony with others and proclaiming the gospel. 

God never breaks promises.  He only breaks chains!  It’s time to stop kicking against the goads.  It’s time to stop fighting!

Pray with me…

Come Holy Spirit!  Extinguish the fight within me that goes against your will, for your burden is not only light in weight, but light that overcomes darkness.  No matter how far I run away, how hard I fight, or how far down I have fallen, there you are, saying “rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose” (Acts 26:16).  Today, I stop fighting.  In obedience, I rise and stand and am ready for you to reveal your purpose for me!  In Jesus name, Amen!  

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