1,6 “And looking intently at the council, Paul said, ‘Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.’… he cried out in the council, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’”
Acts 23:1,6 (ESV)
Have you ever struggled to be accepted, believed, trusted, welcomed? Has your credibility, reliability, veracity been questioned on the teams or forums you’ve been a part of? Like me, I bet you’ve had your moments.
How have you approached challenges like these?
In Acts 23, the apostle Paul finds himself on trial, facing heat, standing before a tribunal of the most powerful political/religious leaders of his day. It was high drama in Jerusalem, to be sure, and more than 40 men committed themselves together to murder Paul.
In the face of this pressure, let’s note Paul’s response and find some great biblical coaching to help us prepare for life’s dramas that come our way. Here are the five pointers God gives us:
SQUARE IN THE EYE: Facing your foes begins and ends with bringing a locked look, an unflinching eye that will not look away. God helps us get there, to face things head on with unwavering confidence and courage in Him.
Winners in life look their opponents straight in the eye.
SENSE OF FULFILLMENT: Having a sense of fulfillment is not just getting a good feeling. It is firstly having a sense of completion, of finishing a job, of doing something well, not just getting it done.
Knowing the job is done and done right builds great confidence in the face of great inspection. Paul had a right sense of fulfillment.
SENSE OF DUTY: Duty takes our commitment-making to the right level, getting us beyond living by feelings that often waver or mislead.
When devotion to duty is firmly installed in the way we operate, it makes us tough and drives us hard. It calls us to the highest, noblest, most selfless level of living. May the high call of duty to God, truth and others drive us to strong life performance as it did Paul.
SENSE OF GOOD CONSCIENCE: Paul lived in “all good conscience.” He wouldn’t live anywhere else. A strong moral compass governed his life so much so that, regardless of who pressured him, he would not buckle.
Once he had learned how to get a good conscience by seeking God’s forgiveness and then following Him closely, he wouldn’t turn back. He became conscience-driven, not circumstance-driven.
This made him powerful and free in the face of everything.
SURE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: Faith in the facts drove Paul’s view of the future. He came to see that hope beyond death was possible because of Christ’s resurrection. This hope troubled others who felt otherwise, so much so that they wanted to kill him.
They wanted to trust their feelings more than the facts, so Paul’s view really rubbed them the wrong way.
But Paul didn’t let feelings drive his faith. The facts of the resurrection did.
So if you want to build a life that brings a bold, compelling testimony before a watching world, ask God to build these five elements in you.
Reflect: What current pressures are you facing? Are you facing them square in the eye? Are the high calls of complete fulfillment, noble duty and good conscience driving the moves you make?
Like Paul, is the power of the resurrection and the true hope of heaven impacting the way you face tough things?
A prayer to consider: Father, look upon me in my need. I want to live fearless and free, looking trouble right in the eye with unflinching confidence, trust and hope in You. I want my life to be a compelling testimony to Your true greatness.
Jesus, help me fulfill my missions, driven by delighting in duty and good conscience. Do this by the power of Your Spirit for my good growth and Your great glory. Amen.