Can God Reach Those With Closed Minds?
Acts 26:9 - 18"I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' "Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' "'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to themto open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
Responses to the Gospel vary. Some people believe it’s true. Others resist learning what the Scriptures say about salvation. Many have closed minds and refuse to have anything to do with Jesus. These individuals respond to Christians in one of two ways. They’re polite but firm in their rejection of Christ. Or, they’re aggressive and antagonistic toward those who call Jesus, “Savior.” In their opposition, some even cross over into violence.Can God’s message of salvation penetrate those whose minds are shut? The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul, proves that no one is beyond the reach of God’s love. Paul was a devoutly religious man who professed faith in God the Father. But he rejected Jesus as God, the Son.His hatred of the Lord extended to all those who followed Jesus. Paul went to great lengths to persecute believers and persuade them into blaspheming Christ. God’s Spirit convicted this violent man of his sin, gave him an awareness of his own need for a Savior, and revealed that Jesus was the only solution for him and everyone else.
Dr. Stanley believes Paul came under conviction by the Holy Spirit when he was persecuting Christians. The future apostle witnessed unwavering devotion to Jesus even as believers were being killed for their faith (Acts 7:59-60).Today, the Holy Spirit continues working to bring men and women under conviction. He uses the lives and testimonies of believers to reveal the truth about Jesus to those with closed minds and hard hearts.Do you know people who seem beyond God’s reach? Be encouraged. Continue to ask God for their salvation(Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. )
-from Dr. Charles Stanley
Do you have unsaved family members or friends that came to mind as you read this? As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, let's be steadfast to remember them in prayer, that God would soften their hearts and give them a hunger to come to know Him.
Ask Him to prepare their hearts, to give you divine appointments in which they are seeking answers, and to give you the right words to say to encourage them in coming to know Jesus. If no friends or family come to mind, then you might pray for others you know who have unsaved family members.