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How We Hurt Ourselves

“There is never any peace for those who resist God.”

Francois Fenelon

I love the dramatic conversion of Saul. While walking on a street in Damascus, a light from heaven flashed and blinded him. Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14b). Kicking against the goads is a way to express the uselessness of resistance, because the ox ends up hurting himself more.

The oxgoad is a long stick which has a pointed piece of iron at one end. The animal’s master uses it to gently guide the ox in the desired direction to plow the field. But when an ox is stubborn and kicks back at the pole, it actually drives the pointed end deeper, inflicting more pain. The Passion Translation of Acts 26:14b reads, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? You are only hurting yourself when you resist your calling.”

When we rebel and fight against what God is asking us to do, we not only hurt Jesus, but also ourselves. For years, my fear to write, caused me to procrastinate and put off making writing a priority. What I didn’t realize, the creative process I fought, is what makes me feel most fully alive. At the time, writing, wasn’t my comfort zone, so I ran away from it. Fortunately, God is patient, and He trained me to write, which has now become my sweet spot. A spiritual father once said to me, “Aren’t you glad God talked you into writing for Him?” You bet I am!

God knew way before I did, that writing births life within me, much like hearing His voice does. He knew all along that being alone and dependent upon Him to direct, replenishes me. God’s call and destiny aptly fits me. Of course, it does; God created me and therefore knows me best.

When we allow fear to paralyze us, we hurt God and ourselves by our disobedience. Not embracing the call to write prevented my fulfillment, which is released when I am being who God created me to be. We experience joy, when we yield to God.

“Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus.”

Oswald Chambers

Relevant Reflection:

How have you hurt yourself by resisting what God wants you to do?

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