The Damascus Experience - Bola Olu-Jordan
Aren’t there some things we engage in, in share ignorance? The ignorance of Paul cost the early church the precious life of a spiritual giant like Stephen: a man the Bible described as full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. Acts 6:5. How would Paul feel when he himself came to the very Christ he once persecuted, or how would he come to terms with the killing of that innocent man? Imagine the regrets and condemnations! Acts 9:1-2.
There are times in our lives that we think we are doing the right thing but in effect we are wrong (Prov. 14:12). How do we feel when we later know the truth and discover that some lives have been destroyed permanently and others lost eternally?
Paul, a doctor of the law and a Pharisee who studied under prestigious Gamaliel, (Phil.3:6), when he came to his senses (Christ) described himself as a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious person (1Tim.1:13). But at the time he was doing this, he called himself blameless (Ph. 3:6). His zeal for God overshadowed his revelation of God. He meant well but did evil. Rom. 7:19. But he confessed that he did it in ‘ignorance’.
Many of us are in this situation. We hold on dogmatically to what we believe is right until we have similar encounter that makes a mess of our knowledge. Unfortunately, not everybody obtain such mercy like Paul did (Rom.9:15, 1Tim. 1:13). This is the Damascus Experience.
What we are doing at the moment may seem to be the best to us (Prov.14:12, Prov. 16:25) but it is possible that we are ‘harming’ God ignorantly like Paul (Acts 9:4). Uzzah thought he was doing something right by preventing the Ark of the Covenant from falling, but in effect, he was resisting God by helping Him. God slew him. (2Sam. 6:6, Lk. 13:27).
Won’t your careless talk, (Eph. 5:4, Mt. 12:36), dressing (1Pet. 3:3), anger, resentment, claiming your right, vengeance, hatred, lies, etc cause an injury to the tender soul of someone? (1Cor. 8:7-12). You call it dressing smart or enjoying the cool weather but someone is been led to hell because of your ‘liberty’. (Mt. 18:6, 1Cor.8:9. 1Cor.10:29. Gal.5:13. 1Pet2:16).
We all see through a glass darkly. 1Cor. 13:12. We think we are doing the best for God, but is our beset acceptable to God? Lev. 10:1-2. Is our service, prayers, offering, worship to Him what He wants or what we think He wants? Acts 10:4. Many of us need to be shaken before we know the right thing to do like Paul? Many need to be broken like Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:33). Others need a strong hand because they will not easily let go their beliefs of what they think is right until God dislocates their joints. Many have become dry fish that will break with attempt to bend them.
We all need a Damascus Experience. It is only then we will discover that those things we hold so dear like titles, degrees, zeal and great work ‘for God’ are nothing but filthy rags before Him. After the experience, Paul forgot the letter he got from the high Priest and his degrees and called them all nothing but dung (Phil. 3:8). He threw away his doctorate title and adopted that of a bond servant (Rom. 1:1, 1Cor. 9:19). Someone that was talking with the high priest was now instructed to go and await an instruction from ‘ordinary people’. He was not used to that but he must be broken.
We must pray for the spirit of sound mind (2Tim. 1:7) so that our minds will not become reprobate. Rom. 1:28. The Damascus Experience is a life changing experience. We all need it before it is too late.