Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: (Acts 26:19 KJV)
The Great assembly sat with pomp and pageantry. Governor Festus took his exalted position, and so did King Agrippa and Princess Bernice. Festus gave his opening remarks, after which Paul was asked to speak in his own defense. Permit me to introduce you to 3 key words in Paul’s speech: ACTION, PASSION, and VISION.
ACTION: Paul, in the commencement of his defense began to give a brief synopsis of his life actions. He was a man of great actions. He never dulled for a moment. Like Joseph of old, his bow abode in strength (Genesis 49 vs. 24). Despite all the challenges that he faced and all the pressures that came upon him, he kept on going. While he was writing to the Corinthians, he said, “Since God has so generously let us in on what he’s doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times.” 2 Corinthians 4 vs. 1 (MSG). That is the way the apostle lived. He was a man who kept on going. Nothing stopped him and no one intimidated him from his assignment. Why was this so?
PASSION: Something drove the Apostle. Something kept him moving- his Passion. He was always motivated from inside. While still writing to the Corinthians, he said, “For Christ’s love compels us…” 2 Corinthians 5 vs. 15 (NIV). The work he did was not done out of a forced will. It is true that to a measure he was constrained (in his assignment), but he was also passionate about the Gospel. He was willing to take it to the ends of the earth. He was not ashamed of the Gospel. This is the passion of the Apostle. Now, what was the source of this passion?
VISION: Paul recounted how he met Jesus on the road to Damascus- a story he could never finish telling. He had his direction; he had where he was going with his life, till he met Jesus of Nazareth who changed him and gave him a new direction for life. The Lord met him and gave him a new task, and a new message. He gave him the scope of his assignment and released him to a new task. To this vision, Paul remarked… “I was not disobedient”. Since he met the Lord, since he caught his vision for life, Paul had been at work. He had been racing to fulfill all that God has in store for him, and to accomplish all that the heavens had programmed for his life.
So, this is the order for the task ahead of us: VISION, then PASSION, then ACTION. So many are trying to carry out actions, yet they do not have any passion driving them; and the reason they are passionless is simply because they have not caught any vision. The visions that God gives a man infuses a passion into that man, and it is that passion that will move him into action.
However, it is important to note that one can receive a vision from God and be disobedient to it. It does not follow that the presence of a vision automatically translates into passion and action. The cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things can choke to death a God-given vision. Procrastination, laziness and lack of diligence can choke to death a God-given vision.
AND SO? Every man, including you, has responsibilities cut out for them. The first is to discover the vision, then the second is to brood on the vision (until it bursts into life inside of you), and the third is to run with the vision (refusing to be distracted or to give up). This is what made Paul outstanding and what gave him an audience before Kings (high and low); and for this, the whole of creation waits for the epiphany of the sons of God.