Apostle Paul was a man of powerful impact in ministry. But do you know that it was an average man that commissioned him to full-time ministry? Who was that man, and what lessons can you learn from him and apply in your life today?
I believe there are life-changing lessons you can glean from the man who commissioned Apostle Paul to ministry. This is what I will show you in this post.
Ananias, a certain disciple in Damascus
A lawyer and Pharisee known as Saul of Tarsus was on his was to Damascus to continue his gruesome persecution of believers in Christ when he had a dramatic encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. That experience transformed this murderous fellow into one of the greatest followers of Christ the world has ever known. (The full story is found in Acts of the Apostle chapter 9 verses 1-21).
To receive orientation in his new ministry, Jesus had directed Paul (then known as Saul) to go into town to go look for a certain disciple in Damascus known as Ananias who would tell him what to do. (You can see my previous post where I differentiated the three Ananias in the Bible).
The life of Ananias of Damascus wasn’t as dramatic as that of Apostle Paul who was called to minister to the Gentiles. But there are many things about his life you can learn from and apply in your life today.
As directed by the Lord, Ananias reached out to Saul, received him with open hands, healed him of blindness, baptised him in water, helped him to be filled with the Holy Spirit and revealed to him his ministry direction of being a chosen vessel to reach the Gentiles and their Kings and the house of Israel.
The life of Ananias of Damascus wasn’t as dramatic as that of Apostle Paul. But there are many things about his life you can learn from and apply in your life today.Tweet
It’s the lessons drawn from the conversation between the Lord and Ananias on one hand, and the one between Saul and Ananias on the other, that give us tremendous insight into the kind of man Ananias was.
Lessons from Ananias of Damascus
A Rev. Robert Bushman once noted that “…God is saying to us that we need to have a kind of relationship with God that he could use us like Ananias was used.”
God used Ananias to welcome Saul to the Christian fold. And Saul turned out to be a great asset, writing more than a-third of the New Testament Bible.
If you want God to use you like He used Ananias, you must be ready to learn from him by taking a closer look at him. At least nine lessons can be learnt from the life of Ananias that you can apply in your daily walk with God.
Stay with me as I take you through the inspiring lessons:
1. Ananias was a dependable disciple
The Lord needed someone in the city of Damascus to minister to Saul who just believed in His name and Ananias came to His mind. Bear in mind that Ananias was not the only believer in that City at that period in time.
If God were to come to your city now, would He find you a dependable person to undertake a special task for Him? Yes, Ananias ministering to Saul was a special task.
For one, Saul was someone whose name evoked fear in the minds of believers in Christ in Jerusalem and in the surrounding towns, because he took delight in persecuting them. So as a believer in the Lord then, meeting Saul face to face would be like receiving a death sentence.
Two, the ministration of Ananias was one that would give Saul a divine direction and commission to ministry. So God needed someone he could trust to undertake the task. Ananias came to His mind and he lived up to expectation.
If God were to come your city now, would He find you a dependable person to undertake a special task?Tweet
As important as this assignment was to God, Ananias was considered fit to undertake it. So let me ask you again: would God find you worthy, if He came to your city looking for someone to carry out a special assignment?
2. Ananias heard the voice of God
How did Ananias know that God was sending him to go minister to Saul of Tarsus? It was because God had communicated that directive to him and he heard Him loud and clear.
As a believer in Christ, do you hear God speak to you? Before you answer that question, I know you what you are thinking: “God doesn’t speak to me.”
What kind of father doesn’t speak to his children? A good father will speak to his children, just as he would expect his children to speak to him.
If you consider God your father, know that He has been speaking to you in more ways than one. Through His word, revelation, vision, etc.
Yes, God speaks to all His children. The problem is that not all of His children know His voice.
Do you know the ways God speak to you? Can you recognise His voice?
Hearing God’s voice is one thing, following it is another thing all together. Both are important.
In your daily walk with God, you have to learn to understand His voice and and follow it. Your impact will be great if you do.
Take a cue of Ananias: learn to hear the voice of God. Hearing the voice of God will help you to obey God more.
3. Ananias was an obedient disciple of Jesus Christ
Ananias was enjoying the comfort of his house when he heard the voice of God to go into the street and look for Saul to minister to him.
After raising a subtle objection, he set out at once to accomplish the divine directive welcoming Saul into the world of Christ’s believers. “And Ananias went his way and entered into the house…” where Saul was already waiting for him. This is enough evidence that he was an obedient follower of Jesus Christ.
As a believer, how often do you obey the voice of God? Or even if you choose to obey, how urgently do you obey?
People who are full of themselves cannot carry out divine assignments. And even if they do, they will mess it up because their pride will obstruct the move of God.Tweet
When God tells you to do something, would you rather wait for the most convenient time to do it or set out to carry out the task immediately as required?
Truly speaking, it is not enough to hear the voice of God. You should obey what it says to do.
God has many children, but not all of us are obedient. God is looking for those who will obey His instructions just like Ananias did.
4. Ananias didn’t let his fears stop his obedience to the Lord
You read from #3 above that Ananias was obedient to God’s instructions concerning Saul, but that was after he had overcome his initial fears. Yes, Ananias feared for his life that’s why he raised an initial objection:
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name” Acts 9:13-14.
Don’t forget that at that period in time, the reputation of Saul as a persecutor of believers in Christ was well spread. He had supervised the killing of the disciple, Stephen. He was known amongst the circle of Christ’s followers in Jerusalem as a ruthless murderer.
In fact, this same Saul was on his way to Damascus from Jerusalem with a license to arrest believers before the trajectory of of his life began to take a new direction.
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” Acts 9:1-2.
Ananias had a valid objection not go meet Saul, except that he should known that God had Him covered.
I reckon that under normal circumstances, as a disciple of the Lord, meeting face to face with Saul could have meant being arrested, punished, jailed or even killed. But once the Lord had convinced him that Saul was going to be propagating the same message of the gospel he was persecuting, Ananias moved passed his fears to go carry out the divine assignment.
Find a good reason to move against your fears. Your fears, no matter what they are, should not stop you from carrying out divine assignments.
5. Ananias was a humble person
Someone is humble if he or she is not proud or given to overestimating his or her importance.
People who are full of themselves cannot carry out divine assignments. And even if they do, they will mess it up because their pride will obstruct the move of God.
Ananias‘s humility was on display when he accepted to go minister to Saul. Once he got there he was most friendly with Saul, someone whom I believe he had never met before, calling him “brother Saul.” He went on to impact on Saul in the most loving way.
Another way Ananias showed humility was that when he met Saul, he didn’t use the opportunity to promote himself. Rather, he told Saul “The Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road has sent me to you…” (emphasis added).
Your ministry should point people to the God who sent you, not to you who was sent.Tweet
God’s calling on your life is not an opportunity for self-promotion. Just like Ananias, your ministry should point people to the God who sent you, not to you who was sent.
6. Ananias was focused on his mission
In the revelation to Ananias, “The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” Acts of the Apostles 9:11-12 NLT
The directive to go look for Saul was as specific as it was urgent, “So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts of the Apostles 9:17 NLT
How focused are you in doing the things God has called you to do?Tweet
From the story, you can see that Ananias was not distracted from the mission God put in his hands. As soon as the Lord had spoken, he hit the road, located Saul’s lodging place as revealed to him and ministered to him in ways that impacted Saul forever – he healed Saul of his three-day old blindness, laid hands on him to receive the Holy Spirit, baptised him and then freed him to face his ministry.
How focused are you in doing the things God has called you to do?
If the Lord has called you to carry out a specific task, you must remain focused to it till the task is fully executed. Little distractions here and there can make a mess of the calling.
7. Ananias allowed the power of God to flow through him
God’s power is in His calling. When God calls you to a mission, He gives you the power to accomplish it.
You don’t have to ‘feel’ the power to know that you have it; you just have to accept that when He called you, He empowered you.
Ananias was sent to go minister to Saul. He went there in obedience and allowed the power of God to flow through him in ministering to Saul.
Through him, Saul’s blind eyes were opened. Through him Saul received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Through him, Paul was encouraged to pursue his divine calling.
All these happened because Ananias allowed the power of God to flow through him. God chose Ananias for the assignment and Ananias yielded fully to Him. Hence there was no blockage of virtue from him to the new convert, Saul.
Realise that if God calls you to do anything, He backs you up with His power. Yours is to obey Him and allow His power flow through you to others. Without obedience, power may not flow.
8. Ananias had a good reputation in the land
Meriem-Webseter explains reputation as “the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something” or a “recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability.”
What has this got to to do with our man, Ananias? “A lot,” I dare say.
The writer of the Book of Acts tells us that “…there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision…” (9:10, KJV). But from what you have read so far in this post, is it not obvious that there be more to Ananias that being just a certain disciple at Damascus?
You think about it; so far, you have read that Ananias was humble, he heard the voice of God, he was obedient to God, he was a focused person and he was dependable.
Do you know the culmination of these wonderful characteristics? I will tell you: Ananias had a “recognition by other people” that he was good man.
In other words, Ananias has a good reputation amongst the Jewish people of Damascus City. I came to that conclusion from the testimony given by Paul himself concerning Ananias.
“A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus. Acts of the Apostles 22:12 NLT.
So as you can clearly see, Ananias was godly, devoted to the Law and of good reputation.
How devoted to God are you? Do you have a good reputation amongst the brethren?
I do not mean to judge you by asking those questions. I just want you to learn from Ananias.
9. Ananias… (you give me the ninth lesson)
Ananias was humble and dependable. He was focused on, and obedient to, the instructions of God. He did not allow his fear to stop him from obeying God’s directive.
And in the end, he had a good reputation amongst the people and all through to the present day generation. All these characteristics of Ananias’s are worthy of emulation.
If you have read through the post to this point, I believe you have already learnt some fantastic lessons from Ananias which you can apply in your life. But I do not want to make the mistake of assuming that everything I have written in this post is all there is to learn from the life of Ananias. So I am leaving the ninth lesson open for you to fill in.
What else can we learn from the life of Ananias?
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