(Acts 13:4 NLT) So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus.
This morning we continue our series “Grace that is Simply Amazing” by continuing to learn more about the amazing life of the Apostle Paul. For the last few days I discussed the connection between Saul and Barnabas, and how the Holy Spirit knitted them together for the work of the ministry. After ministering successfully in Antioch for a year the two men were fasting and praying, along with other church leaders, when the Holy Spirit spoke and said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” The group wasted no time in obeying God. The men laid their hands on Saul and Barnabas, praying for and blessing the men, and the group then sent Saul and Barnabas on their way.
Our text makes it clear that they were sent out by the Holy Spirit. The two men, being led of the Holy Spirit, went down to the seaport of Seleucia, they got on a boat, and they sailed for the island of Cyprus.
I can’t help but imagine what Saul must have felt while he was heading for Cyprus. The scenery must have been beautiful as he sailed the Mediterranean Sea from Antioch (in Syria) to Cyprus. I have seen shows about Cyprus and it seems to be a Mediterranean jewel. It was probably even more beautiful back then. But while Saul was looking out into the Mediterranean as he embarked on this journey, I would think that the awesomeness of the assignment was his biggest excitement. This is what he had been waiting for. This is what he had worked so hard to prepare for while he was studying in Tarsus. This is what he had been praying about. This was his big chance. And it did not come because he came up with the idea. It did not come because he forced the issue. It did not come because he selected his teammate and developed the game plan. No, the entire assignment came by Grace. Saul did not pick where he was going, he did not pick who he was going with, and he did not come up with what he was supposed to do when he got there. This was all God’s doing and Saul and Barnabas were simply being led of the Holy Spirit, seeking to be God’s instruments in the earth and enjoying the ride!
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. God wants to be the central character in your life’s story. When people open the book of your life and read through its pages, the Lord wants to be seen in every chapter. He wants it to be clear that you were born for a purpose and that you found and pursued that purpose while you were in the earth. The Lord is certainly seen when we read about the Apostle Paul. Will you allow God to be the star of your life’s story?
2. God gives you the assignment by Grace. Paul did not come up with the assignment, he did not come up with where he was supposed to go, who he was supposed to go with, or what he was supposed to do when he got there. If Paul had come up with it, it probably would not have been so good, because he was still dealing with the condemnation of his past. That’s why God gives us the assignment by Grace. This way the emphasis is on His goodness and what He wants to do in our lives, and not our feelings of inadequacies.
3. God wants you to accept and seek to fulfill His assignment. God made plans for you before the foundations of the world. You can’t come up with your life’s purpose, because He beat you to the punch, deciding it before you were born. Your job is simply to find out what it is, and then to cooperate with God in order to fulfill it before you die. Not because you deserve it, but simply because of His Grace.
4. God wants to deploy you by Grace. God will equip, enable, empower and employ you, so that He can then DEPLOY you to bring about divine change in your sphere of influence. Your life is about more than just you, your four (your family) and no more. You are here for a reason and that reason is to bring about divine change. The Father wants to release SuperNatural power through you. He wants to make a mark, through your life, that can never be erased. Will you let Him? Will you allow the Father to send you out to touch other’s lives and to manifest His glory in the earth through you? If you are willing, He is more than able. When you walk with God by faith He is able to bless you TO BE a blessing to others. This takes the emphasis off of you and places it on doing what He called you to do.
Closing Confession: Father, I know You want to be the central character in my life’s story and I want You to be. I want You and Your power to shine through me daily. My prayer is, “Glorify me, here in the earth, so that I can glorify thee.” When I get recognized I am quick to deflect the glory back to You. I want You to be the star of my story, because the more You shine, the more blessed I will be. So I accept my assignment by Grace and I seek to walk it out by faith. You lead me by Your Spirit and I submit to His leading. My life is not about me anymore. It is not about the selfish pursuit of things or pride-based accolades. I simply seek to please You. As I do, the accolades will come, the blessings will flow, and life will be very enjoyable. The greatest fulfillment I can experience is knowing that I am doing what I was born to do. From this day forward, I declare that I shall live my life driven by Your purpose for me. You equip me, enable me, empower me, and employ me, just so You can turn around and DEPLOY me to make a difference in the earth. Wherever You send me, I am ready to go, and I am ready to make a mark that can never be erased. Not because I am so good, but because You are! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.