As you slow down and give yourself to the serious pursuit of reflection, you will find it is not an absence of work. It is more of a decision as to where you want to allow your mind to go. What do you want your mind and body to engage in? In receiving the wonders you take in, you decide how your heart engages with the given information and how you will share it. In other words,
It is discovering refreshing waters pouring over your tired soul.
Ponder this : If the daily spiritual consumption you ingest is similar to a drive-thru for your favorite latte on your way to work, are you really getting the best and deepest nourishment in your relationship with God?
It tastes really good at the time. You get your needed zip to start the day. Then as the time goes on, and like the caffeine energy that wears away, with little spiritual and substance and reflection, it is hard to hear His tender, caring voice expressing His love.
In a past daily Bible reading, the New Testament portion was Acts 25-26. I could easily been impressed with Paul’s eloquent rhetoric in his defense to King Agrippa. I could have closed the book and said, “WOW! God sure gave Paul just the right words to say to get him out of trouble. Thank you God.”
Slowing down caused me to catch something else God had in store for me.
Kick against the GOADS.
12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
NKJV Acts 26
Such an odd sentence! Kick against the goads! What does that mean?
An ox goad is similar to a cattle prod. (an instrument used by ploughmen for guiding their oxen . http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/ ) It is a type of long stick with a pointed end.( Wipikedia)
A farmer uses the goad to push and prod the ox to make him move to a certain goal and perform the duties he is created for. The more the ox fights (kicks) against the goad, the harder the farmer needs to push it into the ox until the correct path is chosen.
Everything in Paul’s being was trained and ready for the Messiah. When the PROMISE was fulfilled through the man Jesus, Paul could not or would not walk that direction. He kept pushing against the very path he actually wanted to be on.
As Paul realized the Man speaking to him on the Damascus road was the Promised fulfilled, he quit kicking. The true wisdom, washed over his heart causing Paul the freedom to embrace a relationship with Jesus for who Jesus truly is.
That YES changed Paul’s life forever.
That YES affected all followers of Jesus forever.
Slowing down and reflecting on this passage took me to a deep question. I put this same question to you.
Is there an area in your life where you are:
Kicking against the goad?
Where did you say “YES” to God with your whole heart and now you think you know better for your life than He does?
Was creativity a dynamic worship expression in your intimate relationship with God at one time and now other areas vie for your time? Creativity and worship are not important?
Is God opening a different direction in your life ( a new ministry, change of job, writing a book), but it does not seem to line up with your “normal walk”?
You can fill the blank with your own question that has been lurking in the back of your mind________.
What is your response when you think of these specific conversations? Are you kicking against the goad? God is not angry. He is waiting to free you as He did Paul.
As Paul received the wise words to quit resisting the reality of Jesus and His Love, Paul was bathed in refreshing waters for a new life.
Slowing down will bring true refreshment for you. What are your goads?
Feel free to share your questions and thoughts. We are all on this journey together.
plowman photo is a free on line example of an ox goad with ox.