Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: Acts 9:13-15 (KJV)
He was a prince of a great kingdom, a devout idol worshipper. Though he was educated in all western knowledge, he still retained his idol worship. His wife and children went to Church, but that did not bother him. While they went to Church, he had his own shrine in his house where all his incantations and worships were made. It was a sacred room and no one dared enter it apart from him. He was not merely an idol worshipper, but was high into occultism. All the prayers that his wife and children levelled on him appeared to be like pouring water on the rock…. Until that fateful day….
It was past 2am in the deep night when a hand tapped him to wake up. He woke up, and knew instantly that a personality was there. In the occult world, once a personality stronger than you is talking to you, you will know instinctively. He does not need to introduce himself. Such was his feeling at that moment; that a personality higher than all his occultic arrangements was in that room. “Get up, take a very big bag and enter your shrine”, the voice said. He rose up, like a man under compulsion and obeyed. Nobody, apart from him, knew what was happening.
Immediately he got into the his shrine, the voice ordered him to start packing all his idols, sacrifices, charms, amulets, etc. into the bag; which he began to do instantly. The moment he was through, the voice ordered him to open his gate, put the fully packed bag into the back of his car and drive out into the night! By then, it was about 3am. Left with no choice, he drove his car out into the night, not knowing where he was going to. On getting to a bridge, he was ordered to stop and empty the contents of the bag into the great River, which he did. Afterwards, the presence left him, having ordered him to now go home.
He stood there for sometime wondering what had just happened. He turned and said into the darkness, “Whoever you are, you have just robbed me of all my powers and everything I trust in. What do you want me to do?” He waited, but there was no response. Then he left and went home. It was going to be 6 months later when a friend took him to a fellowship meeting where he finally encountered Jesus, and knew without any shadow of doubt that it was Him who had walked into his room that night! And that was the begining of a new season for him.
It is normal for us to write off men. It is normal for us to think that a man has gone to the level of no return. But I have a word for you today, “NEVER WRITE OFF ANYONE“. There is no man, no matter his level of advancement in wickedness who God cannot arrest and turn around forever.
As it was for this man whose story I just told (and it was actually a true story), so it was for Saul the persecutor. He had been a terror to the Church of Jesus, and had been instrumental to the imprisonment and the killing of some who were followers of Jesus. But while he was busy plotting the destruction of God’s Holy People, God had another plan for him. On the way to Damascus, to carry out his wicked job, he met the Light brighter than the sun at noonday, and his life was changed forever.
I have seen God change men. If you have ever laboured in the lives of men on a personal note, you would have known what it means for God to change lives. Some were coming from the most terrible places, with the most horrendous stories; but they met Jesus, and their lives where changed forever. He is the Saviour of all men. There is no man who comes to him and is cast out.
He is the Friend of sinners. I have met people who felt that they cannot live the Christian Life even though they wanted to. That’s not a big deal. I simply introduced them to the Friend of sinners, and when they prayed to Him and told Him how they felt, He reached forth His hand and changed them. Today, I marvel when I see what God is accomplishing in their lives.
So, in your relationship with men, as pilgrims on this side of eternity, never write off anyone. From now till the end of the age, Jesus is still the Saviour of men. I remember the song we use to sing those days in Scripture Union in school:
He did not come to judge the world,
He did not come to blame,
He did not only come to seek,
It was to save He came.
And when we call Him Saviour (3x)
then, we call Him by His Name.
AND SO? Is there anyone around you who you feel his/her case has become impossible? Then I must ask you, have you been praying for that person? When was the last time you spoke to someone about Jesus? When was the last time you introduced someone to the Friend of sinners.
Also, have you written off yourself? You do not have to. If you can come before the Friend of sinners and ask for His help. He will help you, He will save you, and He will use you to fulfill His highest purposes. Jesus is alive, and He still saves.