Apprehended

Apostle Paul is an example of someone whose life was suddenly disrupted and his whole direction turned around when God grabbed him.

A decade or so after Jesus was crucified Paul, known then as Saul of Tarsus, was a Jewish pharisee who dedicated himself to eradicating Christianity. While on his way to arrest Christians in Damascus Saul and those travelling with him were stopped by a brilliant light from heaven and a voice that spoke directly to Saul. Saul was blinded by the incident and had to be led by hand into Damascus. There a Christian was sent by God to pray for Saul, who received his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit.

So there is no quibble about Paul saying he was apprehended, ‘grabbed by God’.

“I press on, in order to apprehend that for which also Christ Jesus apprehended me.” Philippians 3:12

While few others might have as dramatic an experience as Paul, we are all, in fact, grabbed by God. The ‘grabbing’ or ‘apprehending’ might come in much more gentle manner, such as when Jesus invited Matthew the Tax Collector to follow Him. Or it might be as seemingly insignificant as Jesus choosing people from among His followers, as was the case with several of the Disciples.

Nonetheless God is apprehending us, or ‘grabbing us’ for His purposes.

If we were interrupted and called by God dramatically, as Paul was, we would accept that we were apprehended, or grabbed by God and expect it to be significant. When God’s call on our lives seems low-key we can think God doesn’t have the depth of call for us that was seen in others.

What challenges our low-key perception is that God is no respecter of persons.

“Peter spoke up and said, Certainly I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34

God’s invitation to ‘whosoever will’ is charged with all the power and grace of any other calling.

“The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him who hears say, Come. And let he that is thirsty come. And whosoever  will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17

Note that Paul, for all the amazing wonder of how God interrupted him, had to choose to take hold, or apprehend, what God had for him.

Many years ago I had an experience that might help you think about your response to God and to being apprehended.

When my wife, Susan, was expecting our second child, we attended a Christian camp featuring overseas speakers. The program ended on the last night with a prayer session where the visiting speakers prayed for each person individually and shared what they sensed was a word about God’s direction for their life. We all looked forward to it.

In the hours before that session, Susan alerted me she was having contractions and might need to go to hospital. I was very keen to get to the session and tried to dissuade Susan from needing a hospital trip. Shortly before the session Susan confirmed she really did need to go to hospital.

As we drove away the other campers were walking to the meeting hall, waving us goodbye, with happy smiles of anticipation on their faces. I felt quite annoyed and that I was likely to miss something really special by not being there.

As it turned out, to make things worse, the baby didn’t come and the trip to hospital was a false alarm.

Those who attended the session had glowing reports on the wonderful night they all enjoyed and that didn’t help me at all.

However, a thought came to mind as I processed that unhappy experience. It struck me that God’s Word is true, whether I read it in some quiet place on my own or whether it is shared to me with great excitement from someone confident it was God’s powerful personal word to me.

I also realised words to us from God are to be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses. And acting on that word would need faith. So, as I figured it, I could have all that God had for me by simply receiving what God’s Word said and stepping out on that word, in faith.

That removed all of my angst about missing out on a special ‘word from God’ at the camp. I realised I could go through life never having anyone speak a word from God for me, and yet fulfil all God had for me. I could live a thoroughly thrilling life in God’s purposes by receiving God’s word and stepping out on it, as an act of my will and faith.

Now, let’s take that approach to the idea of being ‘apprehended’ by God.

If you have been grabbed in some exciting way, or if you have come to God in what seems a low-key fashion, it makes no difference to the fact that God has called you and grabbed you for His salvation and His purposes.

If you were grabbed by God in some miraculous way you could feel excited about all God has for you, and you could step out boldly to continue apprehending all God yet has for you.

If you have not experienced a miracle process in being grabbed by God you can still feel excited about all God has for you, and you can step out boldly to continue apprehending all God yet has for you.

It is our mind that stops us perceiving how amazing and special it is to be called into God’s family and into God’s Kingdom purposes. We have each been apprehended by God. And, like Paul, that means amazing things can and will happen as we step out and serve God boldly, in faith.

Your life is not ordinary, or low-key, or meant to be on the sidelines while others do exciting things. The key to your amazing future right now is to stop and realise that “You have been Apprehended”!!!

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