“So, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
Acts 26: 19
What called forth Paul’s lifelong consecration of himself was that flash of light from heaven. The obedience sprang from the vision. For while it remains true that all self-committal to God is precious to him, blind self-committal may not serve him very far. There is, I think a difference between the initial, pure, but uninstructed consecration that follows our conversion and that further giving of ourselves that may spring out of a seeing of a plan of God. Upon the one, based as it is on our salvation, he may not at once make severe demands. But when he opens his heart to reveal to us what he wants done, and when having asked for our willingness he receives our fresh response, then it is that his demands upon our giving intensify. We have pledged our word on the basis of a new understanding, and he takes us anew at our word. Hereafter all we have must go into it, all the way.
God never calls us to “blind faith.” Instead, He usually shows us what He has in mind, quite often long before it becomes a reality. Multiple examples from the Bible prove this to be so. In the Garden of Eden God promises a Redeemer who would suffer the penalty for the sins of humanity. Before the Flood, God reveals what’s ahead to Noah and afterwards places a rainbow in the sky as a sign of the promise that the world will never again experience a flood. God made known to Joseph that the Israelites-the descendants of Jacob would return to their homeland and Joseph gave instructions for his bones to remain unburied and carried back to Canaan when the Israelites made their journey.
We could speak of how God gave Abraham specific instructions and directions. We could tell how God specifically gave the promise and carried it out to give Isaac as a son. We read of how the Israelites were led by a visible cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Gideon would tell us that God was even gracious to provide undeniable signs to confirm his call to deliver Israel. Or how about God meeting with Moses on the Mount and when Moses came back to the people his face shone with such brilliance that they had to place a veil over his face.
Although the disciples, like us often struggled with their faith, they were given open revelation about Christ. If one were to wonder how they could stand firm in their faith even in the face of persecution, they would only have to read about seeing the dove lighting upon Him and hearing the voice from heaven. If that wasn’t sufficient, perhaps the disciples seeing the lame walk, the blind seeing and the lepers cleansed, would have provided sufficient evidence for them. But God went beyond that and Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to the top of the mountain and they saw His glory.
When they told of a resurrected Savior, they spoke of what they had seen and those forty days after resurrection they spent with Him were life-transforming.
Prior to his conversion, Paul, known as Saul, did everything in his power to shut down the Christian church. He had them arrested, beaten, and imprisoned until the day when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. That vision of Christ transformed him from a persecutor of the church to one of the most powerful builders. In Acts we read how God gave him the vision of the man from Macedonia that directed his mission effort. Now standing before King Agrippa, Paul’s defense was that he had faithfully followed the vision that God had given him. In a nutshell, Paul’s life and ministry were ordered by what God showed him by vision.
Now you may say that all of this is wonderful, but what about us? The Bible teaches us that God never changes and that Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Nee calls our attention to the truth that God always makes His will known. Generally, we all know the will of God. He made it clear in what has become known as the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. We need not waste time trying to figure out what it is that God is calling us to do. All we need to ask ourselves is whether our activity and decisions lead to carrying out these. That applies to us as individuals and collectively as the church.
I believe that wisdom would dictate the if we are confused or unsure that we simply ask God to make Himself and His plans known to us just as He did to those we have read of. Take the time for God to make Himself known to you. Refuse to settle for mere words or “blind faith.” Find the courage of Gideon and those like him and say to God, “Here’s my life, I want to serve you, but I need You to make it clear. I wonder if one of the reasons we like things to remain vague is that it removes the responsibility of doing fully the will of God. Let’s don’t let another wasted minute pass us by while we sit in confusion and doubt. Let us go up the mountain alone with Christ and ask Him to show us His glory and from that find the courage and faith to follow instruction without hesitation.
Dr. John Thompson