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Acts 9:1–6 ‘He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.’ (vv4–5)

Who we were, is not who we have to remain. We have a past, yet God’s promise is that whilst we are a product of our past, we need not remain a prisoner to it. Paul, the church’s persecutor, was found by God and surrendered to Him. Then through obedience he became a significant evangelist. Redemption is freely available to all who seriously want to explore following Jesus. Even at death’s door salvation remains available, as a thief crucified alongside Jesus discovered (Luke 23:40–43).

The challenge comes in securing our freedom from our past context and inner motivations so we might begin afresh. Indeed, in a way we start anew every day, for we can’t influence yesterday because it has passed and only today stands before us, bursting with opportunity. Whilst God confronts us in many ways, the key question is always, ‘how will I respond?’ Why say yes to God? Paul had little knowledge of the demands it would make of him, or that ultimately it would require his martyrdom.

Learning to surrender entirely to God’s purpose is never a momentary decision. Paul took his time in considering his conversion experience and discerning what it all meant. We too must do this, and regularly. It’s not in the gift of others to direct my steps, however I might like to be told what to do. I must find space and time to reflect on my choices and discover what God requires of me. We discover that our walk with God is always and only through personal encounter.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Exod. 33:12–23; Isa. 6:1–11; Matt. 7:7–20; Acts 9:7–19.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Would you like to learn to draw closer to God and hear His voice?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to hear Your voice and encounter You every day. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.