Keys to the Kingdom
About 2009, when our daughter married and moved to Texas for a couple of years, we purchased a GPS. Prior to this, we had always traveled on our family vacations with Jimmy as driver and me as navigator. You’d think traveling by GPS would result in a foolproof trip. Not. I can still hear the annoying voice of that “woman” saying, “Recalculating, recalculating. In 600 feet, make a U-turn.” I’m glad she wasn’t a real person, because I actually hated her when she said that.
In Acts Chapter 9, we find Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. He was on his way to arrest the Lord’s followers and ultimately kill them; he’d been successful in overseeing the stoning death of Stephen. Saul was a highly-educated and zealous man who was deceived in thinking he was doing God a favor. Well, he was doing the devil a favor, so God put a stop to it.
Saul was conducting his life in the wrong way. There’s no scripture to prove this, but I believe God had previously tried to get Saul to go the right way, but he wasn’t paying attention. God loved him and needed him to make a U-turn in order to preach the Good News. So, as Saul was making his journey, a light from heaven came down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting Me?” Jesus said, “Get up and go and you’ll be told what to do.” Saul then picked himself off the ground and discovered he was blind, so his friends led him on to Damascus.
When God told Ananias to go to Saul and lay hands on him so he could see again, Ananias reminded the Lord of what an awful person Saul was and the terrible things he had done. But God could already see Saul as Paul and said he was His chosen instrument to take the gospel message to everyone who would listen. Long story short, Saul made a U-turn, had a name change, and a lifestyle change.
Have you had a Saul/Paul experience? Saul was on his way to Damascus, and Jesus got a hold of him and he turned around. You’re on your way to hell unless Jesus has gotten a hold of you and you’ve made a U-turn. You cannot take an alternate route to get to heaven. Jesus said”…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me“ (John 14:6 NLT).
Jesus doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, but that’s a choice we make for ourselves by rejecting Him. Jesus will do everything He can to get your attention. He had to knock Saul down and blind him, but Paul would tell you he‘s grateful he made the decision to make a U-turn. The Cathedrals recorded a song several years ago entitled, “He Made a Change.” The last line of the refrain could have been sung by the Apostle Paul: “If He can make a change in me, He can make a change in you!”
The Key: Pick yourself up, take Jesus by the hand, and make a U-turn. Now.