On Sunday afternoons, I spend my time as a Radio DJ for Saved Radio, a Christian radio station here in the Philippines on 106.7 Energy FM. Every month we are given a theme and we are to discuss bible verses, and biblical principles on a certain topic. For the whole month of November, the theme we have been tasked to share on is Boldness in Discipleship.
Last Sunday, November 15, I talked about Ananias, and my personal observations on Discipleship that I saw in his life. I write this in the hopes of encouraging people like me, who face challenges in discipleship. Here we go!
Ananias’ story can be found in Acts 9:10-19:
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision,“Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 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. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 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. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 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.”18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
My thoughts and observations on Ananias’ story:
1. Ananias was called a DISCIPLE not an EXPERT.
He wasn’t described as a mega-church pastor, or a best-selling Christian author, not even a celebrity. He was merely a disciple from Damascus. Sometimes we think we can’t make a difference because we live such ordinary lives. We think that if only we were more eloquent, or more gifted in certain areas, then we could do this or that. As the Executive Director of Every Nation Philippines, Gilbert Foliente, puts it, “God can do more with what we have than what we don’t have.” We don’t need to be anyone else but a true disciple of Christ—someone who follows Jesus, fishes for people, and fellowships with other believers (See Matt 4:18-22)
2. Ananias was HESITANT but he OBEYED.
Why wouldn’t he be hesitant?! Paul was notorious for killing people like him, or those who were probably more popular than he was! If anything, this just shows that we are normal for being hesitant about reaching out to certain people around us. What makes Ananias different is that though He was hesitant, he still obeyed. He allowed God to reassure him that the burden would be on the Lord, and not on him. You see, the heart change is the job of the Lord, not ours. Yes, discipleship may be hard, and sometimes frustrating, but we must trust that it is God who changes the hearts of men, not us. It’s ok to feel hesitant, but God’s grace is sufficient for us to do what he has called us to do.
3. Ananias was given an OPPORTUNITY and HE TOOK IT.
When Ananias obeyed and went to Paul to lay hands on him, Paul regained his sight and was baptized. Would he have been there to see that and be a part of that had he stayed in his hesitation?! NO. God would still do what He needed to. He didn’t need Ananias’ help, but because this “disciple from Damascus” obeyed, he was given first class seats to a life transformation journey. We all know about Paul’s life and how God used him fully for His kingdom. In the same way that God doesn’t need us to accomplish anything in anyone’s life, He invites us to partner with Him in His work. Whose life change are you missing out on because you are stuck in your hesitation? Let’s all step out in obedience! Let’s all GO and MAKE DISCIPLES!
I hope that, like me, you were also encouraged with the story of Ananias, and that it has empowered you to obey God in making disciples!