Choose your next step wisely.
Of Paul and Dylan.
Sometimes he is brilliant-fluid in motion, very creative and eloquent.
Sometimes he takes risks that flirt with great danger.
He prefers to live life on the edge.
This picture of Dylan captures all of that1:
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Did you see his Instagram caption? Choose your next step wisely.
We see it happen regularly around us - some catalyst is interjected into someone's life and dramatically changes the trajectory of things-sometimes irrevocably so.
I submit to you that when life changes dramatically for us - either by event, new circumstances or perhaps even by personal awareness or enlightening - we must choose our next steps wisely, Friend. Looking at it from a number of angles, I believe that the next steps, no matter the new stimulus, the right course of action every time should be the same.
Looking at Scripture for instance, we saw the highly-respected Jewish scholar and rabbi hell-bent on eliminating any threat to the faith, suddenly come face to face with Christianity; inexplicably, he does a 180-degree turn! Wait, what? First, his intention is to silence any mention of Jesus the Christ, and then he turns to follow him ... how could that be? [Hang with me here because I am about to draw a connection between this guy, Dylan and you.]
got upended by his encounter with Jesus Christ-transformed--his next step should serve as an example to all of us. Maybe you missed this fact in your previous study of Paul, but it is critical to understand.
So, Paul comes to know Jesus the Christ, Jewish like him, who steps into his path2, but then what? What happens after his dramatic conversion? What does he choose to do next? Note: it is clearly something substantial, hugely informative and influential in his life, because afterward, Paul preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ and launches out on journeys to share that gospel with others in lands near and far.
Upon his dramatic transformation and literal 'come to Jesus' moment, Paul made a critical decision. He did not go to this one or that one to get answers, he sought God for truth. Paul did not check in with Peter or James or John to see what they were preaching-though they had been personally taught by Jesus for three plus years! He went from Damascus into Arabia and then back to Damascus, seeking truth from no one other than Jesus himself. Paul prayed, he listened, he waited, he heard and meshed what he heard from Jesus with what he knew of the Old Testament scriptures and prophecy. It would be almost 14 years before Paul would preach the gospel in Jerusalem and well beyond.
Look what Paul says to the Galatians, "But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.
When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being."3
The tragic phone call will come. Choose your next step wisely.
You feel the tug of God to move closer to him. Choose your next step wisely.
Opportunity (at least it seems) will knock. Choose your next step wisely.
Good or bad, opportunity or tragedy, let us do what Jesus simply suggested:
Seek God first.4
Let's be wise together,
1 - Dylan is my 22 year old son who lives in Flagstaff, Arizona
2 - Acts 9
3 - Galatians 1.15-16
4 - Matthew 6.33