Psalm 33-34 Acts 24
“But Felix became afraid when Paul spoke about living right, self-control, and the time when God will judge the world. He said, ‘Go away now. When I have more time, I will call for you.’ At the same time Felix hoped that Paul would give him some money, so he often sent for Paul and talked with him.” (Acts 24:25-26 NCV)
The Jewish leaders arrived with Roman lawyer in tow so that they could make their case against Paul. They brought the same untrue accusation against Paul that started the riot in the Temple and added a new twist by accusing the Roman commander of malfeasance when he pulled Paul out of the riot. Paul told his side of the story. Felix already knew something about Christianity, so rather than allow Paul the platform to speak about Christ, he stopped the trial until the Roman commander, Lysius, could come and defend himself. Felix kept talking to Paul, even though he talked about living right, self-control, shortcuts.and a future judgment. As scared as he was about these things, he was hoping that Paul would bribe him for freedom. Paul stayed honest, though, and spent two years in the jail there, probably anxious because he knew his ultimate destination was Rome.
There are so many ways to look at this story and gain insights for daily life. What strikes me most is that Paul lived as far as it was possible for him in the situation, according to the words that he’d spoken to Felix. Even though he was in jail, he continued to live right. It probably wouldn’t have taken too much to bribe Felix to let him go. He could have paid Felix off, slipped off into the night, and headed towards Rome to fulfill God’s call. Instead, Paul stayed true to his convictions and maintained his integrity knowing how much God hates bribes. That honesty took great self-control, since he knew that his imprisonment was keeping him from fulfilling God’s promise that he would share the gospel in Rome. How easy it is to take shortcuts on our walk with God and justify it by claiming the shortcut will help us do what God has called us to do. It’s easy to forget that when God calls us to do something, He has a plan for when it’s supposed to happen to. Our responsibility is to seek to do God’s will in His time. While we’re waiting on God’s timing, we must maintain our integrity as followers of Christ which means that we’re living right, showing self-control, and sharing the love and grace of God with those who need to know, lest they fall under judgment. We must be ready to do whatever God calls us to do, whenever He calls us. While we’re waiting to do that, our lives should reflect His grace and mercy to others.
Lord, I want to follow Your call now! Remind me that Your call reflects Your time as well as specific duties. Let me wait patiently, living right with self-control in the meanwhile. Let me share Your love and grace with those who would be under judgment.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved