How Jesus Deals with People
Paul’s takeover experience is New Testament classic, a clear picture of how Jesus deals with people after His Resurrection. He redeems and restores.
Saul becomes Paul through a transformational process. Jesus faces him down outside Damascus and the adventure begins. Jesus inserts keys to Paul’s destiny and purpose into his life to unlock shackles and open doors for restoration of his personal destiny and kingdom purpose.
Blinded by Light?
Light reveals hidden things: “light manifests,” Paul says in Ephesians. Paul is certainly revealed by Light. The hidden roots are revealed when he encounters unfiltered heavenly Light. Glaring. Blinding. Revealing.
Seems paradoxical at first, a spiritual conundrum, Light that reveals causes blindness? At noon, Paul sees light flashing around him, brilliance greater that the sun. He falls down, blinded.
Did Jesus blind Paul or reveal his deepest issue? Consider that Jesus revealed a preexisting blindness that Paul experienced as a physical manifestation. (Physical blindness helped him understand his soul’s condition.) Jesus exposed the inner blindness, arrested his soul, and brought him face to face with his destiny and purpose.
Jesus manifests spiritual power for strategic reasons; He targets the sources of our syndromes. He goes for the jugular vein on the first try, without hesitation, a sudden sword thrust exposes the deepest secrets of our souls!
Spiritual blindness working in Paul, a deep delusion diverting burning passion for God from his true destiny to destructive oppression of Christians. satan being a liar and the father of lies, his work in and through religion creates a false justification for bad behavior: Paul thinks he is doing God a big favor persecuting Christians.
No matter how entrenched the blindness, the Light burns more brightly! In Paul’s case, light produced blindness. It overwhelmed the blindness of the soul and manifested physically. In this way, Jesus cornered Paul, shut down his blind rage and left him no alternative but to openly reject Jesus.
Paul made a choice at that moment to receive an inward work: he surrendered to the physical blindness and “waited on the Lord.”
Blinded by God’s light, he cries, “Who are you, Lord?”
He calls Him, “Lord,” because he has been conquered. Having been taken-over by Jesus, Paul instantly recognizes that someone bigger has invaded his life! This is the nature of power evangelism that produces lasting life-change; not hit-and-run exposure to power, but redemption and restoration. Jesus will immediately connect Paul to the Body life and leadership to finish what He has started.
Experiences, Not Principles
A word about manifestations of power: none of these experiences can be turned into a principle. Just because Jesus arrested Paul in this manner does not mean that everyone should expect to experience Jesus in this same way, nor should we assume that in order to have a valid salvation experience we must be so profoundly affected by heavenly invasion. Furthermore, we cannot properly interpret this, as some have, to mean that Jesus manifested Himself in this manner to Paul because Paul was a called apostle, an exceptional case in terms of Jesus involving Himself in history in powerful ways.
We make experiences into principles at our own peril and do everyone a disservice when we attempt to apply the ‘experience as principle’ to others. If you weep, fall down, see visions, or experience a startling spiritual reality as part of your life-change experience, do not attempt to project this strategic experience as a norm on others. These experiences are God’s strategies, personal strategic manifestations of God’s power, targeted to the raw nerve of individual need.
Take care to not make strong, miraculous experiences into principles. People are not saved by manifestations but set up by them for confession, repentance, and Divine regeneration. Do not attempt to prescribe an experience that standardizes people’s salvation experiences – “valid or doubtful” – based upon manifestations of power.
While we know God shows up to show off, and right now we are seeing an increase in miracles, signs and wonders, people can and will be saved without them. They are just as saved as someone who gets thrown through a window by Jesus! (So to speak.) One person is getting more saved or “better saved” because Jesus blinded them or appeared to them physically.
Paul’s traumatic blindness speaks to his inner condition of spiritual blindness. Jesus shuts down religion and leaves Paul to “wait on the Lord.”
He says, “Go into the city and you will be told what to do.” Ha! I love it! Jesus truly captures this man. As Jonah gets vomited where he belongs, Paul is pushed into a corner, shut up and shut down, totally dependent for directions for God’s next step.
What’s your issue? God may cure your paralyzing fear of man with a purifying fear of God!
Jesus says Holy Spirit comes and convinces the world! This convincing is personalized! Get ready for invasions of convincing power!
God at Work
Jesus knocks Paul down and yells at him in front of his friends. Paul says, “Who are you, Lord?”
Jesus says, “I am the One you are persecuting.” Not these innocent people you are dragging off to jail and death, in other words; they are not the ones you are persecuting. You are persecuting Me.
Again, Jesus cuts to the marrow of the issue without formal introductions and a “softening up” period. Just wham! Whack up the side of the head. “Paul face it, bud, you are functioning in an antichrist spirit, and I’m here to face you down!”
Jesus says, “It is difficult for you to kick against the goads.” In other words, “I’ve been working on you for a long time, bud!”
This appears to be a ‘suddenly,’ but actually this is the culmination of a season of consistent confrontation. Jesus tackles Paul because His relentless strategy of intervention has brought them to a moment of decision.
Paul, least likely of men to get any attention from Jesus except a busted head for beating up on Christians, has been in the crosshairs all along! At the stoning of Stephen, Paul runs a coat check for the executioners. At that moment, Jesus is there goading him with truth. Every step on the way to arrest Christians, abuse men and women of the Way, Paul is being poked by a sharp stick of conviction. Jesus is pushing him toward a different destiny while Paul blindly resists.
The phrase, “kick against the goads,” creates a word picture. Cattle drivers would use a long wooden stick to move oxen and cattle. The stick was flat on one end for scrapping and sharp on the other for motivating. The driver would poke the cattle on the south end to get them moving north, and the annoyed ox would attempt to kick away the sharpened stick that was paining his pattoosie.
Jesus says, “I have been paining you strategically, Paul, moving you in a new direction, and you have been attempting to kick that painful motivation away. But it was hard! I’m good at goading! Jesus says.
Now Jesus takes another tact. Since goading won’t move Paul into Jesus’ direction, Jesus stops him cold. Blinded, he has no idea where he is or where to go. He is left to wait on God.
Your friends, children, family, co-workers, and enemies are being strategically goaded by God, and it is getting more and more difficult for them to resist. Stop seeing them as enemies and start speaking strategically into their lives. Begin praying 2 Corinthians 10, praying with weapons mighty through God to break blindness, religion, and rebellion off their lives!
God is about to save the ones you think unsave-able! I call them in! The homosexuals and drug addicts. The prostitutes and perverts. The religionists and new-agers. The buddists and hindus. Come in, Muslims and agnostics. It is difficult for you to kick against the goads!!
God is coming to do a takeover move on your lives! We are partners with God in this takeover. We are takeover leaders through worship, intercession, preaching, and Divine love. There are apostles out there awaiting their radical manifestation of Divine power who look like persecutors and prosecutors right now.
God Takes Over
What right does God have to do this? Every right. hell has no right to take over any aspect of your life. And, shock and surprise, you have no right to take over any aspect of your life either! Yep, that’s what I just said. You have no right to yourself, so surrender to God’s takeover move so you can receive a clearer revelation of who you are.
Jesus says, “Go into the city and wait. I’ll tell you who you are, Paul, and I will tell you what to do with the rest of your life.”
Jesus bought and paid for the rights to your destiny and purpose. He will redeem and restore you so you can be the person you were created to be, so you can do what you are called to do. Coincidentally, at the moment of Paul’s inception, he was called – “from your mother’s womb” called to be an apostle.
What is God taking over but what He originated in the first place? While it appears that Jesus is hijacking Paul’s destiny and purposes the only truth is that God created and originated Paul’s destiny and purpose in the first place!
Now, I break off the religious limitations of misguided expertise: although theological pea-brains have worked hard to convince you and everybody else that Paul’s experiences are so “out there” that they communicate nothing to you about your own life, Jesus is coming to take you over in the same way He did Paul. He has every right to your destiny and purpose, and good thing – you don’t have a clue about destiny and purpose unless Jesus has reveals them to you.
God’s takeover move will set you into your life’s work! God will meet you and tell you what to do with the rest of your life. And, can I just say, after a whole life of watching, that most Christians don’t have a clue what their life’s work is?! Can I also say that most churches are as clueless about this as railroad spike?! One of the reasons Jesus shows up with such devastating manifestations of His power is that only a freight train will move most modern American Christians out of their “I just want my little life” lethargy!
I’m a bit ill with people called to nations who waste years with silliness like “will I have to give up my new patio furniture?” People called to preach who don’t want to pay the price, and cop out with stuff like “softball is a ministry too.” It is one thing to ride a motorcycle and properly attribute that activity to Jesus. It is a good thing to work to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Good thing! It is another to substitute occasional busy work, philanthropy, or obvious silliness for your life’s work. Do you see the difference?
There are millions of modern American saints as out of place, rebellious, and misguided as Paul before his conversion! They don’t drag christians off to jail but are as far from their destinies and purposes as Paul was before Jesus ran over him with a bulldozer. They need to be thrown into a corner unable to focus on their distracting consumerism, narcissistic pettiness, and surface-slush religiosity!
They should be passionately pursuing intercession, worship, nations, souls, miracles, and establishing kingdom, but they are as blind as Paul was before Jesus took him over about their destinies and purposes. How do I know? I know because if even a tiny portion of the modern American church were to unleash passion for Jesus resembling their passion for self, this nation would be in Great Awakening Revival and the American Body would step into her new leadership in the nations!
Millions of God’s people are running from the One who owns the rights to their lives. Jesus has every right to takeover their lives. Saints, surrender more deeply and completely today!