PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
Jesus, I belong to you.
I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.
Jesus, we belong to you.
Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.
Acts 9:10–19 (NIV)
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
Have you come to realize Jesus has people everywhere, and he is guiding and orchestrating them all into a plot line of unimaginable proportions? So yesterday Jesus intervenes in the life of his most hostile opponent and gives him marching orders. Today, he speaks into the life of one of his ready disciples, Ananias, with a Holy Spirit assignment. Ananias resists. The Holy Spirit persists. Jesus prevails. The plan moves forward. This is how God accomplishes his will—through people.
God is not a puppeteer but he is an amazing stage director. Puppets have no will of their own. Their movements are never left to chance. Actors, on the other hand, must learn a script. They must be trained in the art form. They can take cues or reject them. An actor can heed the director’s command or do something completely different. The best actors become so immersed in the script and trained in the mind of the director they can improvise in the moment to effect an outcome never seen before but only imagined in the heart of the director.
Some think of the sovereignty of God as though God were a divine puppeteer. There is no effect God does not cause; no outcome he did not predestine. People, like puppets, have no free will. Some of the smartest theologians in the room believe this. I do not claim to be among them in intelligence or in belief. I think of the sovereignty of God as though God were a divine stage director. There are infinite effects from manifold causes; thousands of possible outcomes not predetermined neither unforeseen. He has complete control over every aspect of the production, but he chooses to work with actors who have a mind and will of their own. He expects the cast to know the script(ure) by heart and to intuit his mind from hours and hours of practice through the gift of the Spirit. God’s chief desire is willful obedience inspired by holy love yet his will cannot be thwarted even by total insurrection and the most heinous rebellion.
The amazing thing about God as sovereign stage director is he is directing billions of different stages all at once as though they were in one great theater. No matter what forgotten lines or errant improvisations or outright deviations from the script, one thing is for certain—the outcome:
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev. 11:15)
I think my favorite part of today’s storied text is how Ananias responded to the Lord’s prompting. Two words:
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
Practice speaking those words: Yes, Lord.
They hold the key to humble trust. They carry the essence of preemptive obedience. They are the calling card of the ready disciple.
Yes, Lord. The answer is always and ever, “Yes, Lord.”
THE PRAYER OF TRANSFORMATION
Lord Jesus, I am your witness.
I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness.
I receive your love and release my selfishness.
I receive your readiness and release my resistance.
Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen.
Have you awakened to the fact that you are a Holy Spirit actor on this massive stage of the kingdom of God breaking into world history? How might you become a better-trained actor? Are you understanding the critical significance of attentiveness and obedience?
Every day we sing a hymn together on the Wake-Up Call audio edition/podcast. Get your Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise at the Seedbed Store today.
For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt