My son, who is planting a church in a Northern Colorado city, intentionally took me for a walk through a sculpture garden recently that is located in a prominent spot in his large city. It was beautiful, convenient, and filled with people.
To my amazement, at every 30 yards or so, there was a stone statue. The whole garden was a prayer garden, and each statue was named. The farther we walked, the more I realized it was a garden designed to help you pray to ancestral spirits. This religion is called animism and is no different from the false religions we read of in the Scripture. Paul encountered this in Athens.
What is the truly Christian life? What is the experience of the Christ follower? And what is their purpose?
As Paul is giving the account of his conversion before an angry crowd in Jerusalem, he relates what Ananias told him at his conversion. It describes what Paul was to experience. Notice, that all of these things are not merely intellectual, but practical and experiential.
Tozer said that "What you know about God is the most important thing about you." Right behind that knowledge, though, is what you know about yourself.
Do you know who you are? Paul did. Often in the opening lines of his letters to the churches he would give a one-sentence description that summed up his life. To the Romans, he summed it up in 17 words.
Father, thank You for saving me from a life and eternity without You. Remind me daily of the depth of this grace and the height of Your mercy towards me. Thank You for those who shared the truth of the gospel with me that led to my salvation. Compel me now to pass to others what has been entrusted to me.
Deliver me from fruitless self-centeredness. Lift my gaze outward. Help me see people not as objects, but as those You love with complete and absolute compassion; as those that only one message and one Savior can heal. Fill me with hourly urgency and grant me the clarity and boldness to speak the word of God without fear. Let me do "all things—ALL things—for the sake of the gospel." Open my mouth in gospel witness and my heart in gospel love.
… with most of us modern Christians is that we are stoppable. A little discomfort, a turn from our desired daily routine, or a little resistance from those to whom we’re witnessing throws us off. We have not settled the issue that our greatest joy and highest purpose comes from our witness, and so we are unwilling to push through in sharing Christ with others every day, even in the mildest environments. Even when persecution is not present.