God's Plan for Someone Else
"Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying."
...And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts 9:10-11,17
It is wonderful the way that God accomplishes so many of His great works by the willful participation and cooperation of the Holy Spirit working in and through the lives of His faithful followers. Once we truly come to Christ, we begin learning what it means to find life by losing our life for His Name sake. We must all see that life is no longer about us... but rather about Jesus, and the plan He desires to fulfill in those around us.
God helps us to help others to accomplish His will, that we might become extensions of His love and grace. This was certainly the case for a certain disciple named Ananias. Instead of our Lord Jesus doing everything by Himself, He had a plan to use this man to help Saul receive his sight and be filled with the Spirit and be baptized.
The Lord loves to work TO the body THROUGH the body. He desires that we become humble and obedient servants that are willing to do things behind the scenes even if others may not know what we are doing and if we do not receive any recognition for it.
The KEY PRINCIPLE that we can learn from all of this is that:
"God’s plan for my life has more to do with God’s plan for someone else’s life!"
Both Ananias and Barnabas played a significant role in Saul's (or Paul's) life. They both responded to the Lord's leading and took the time to do what was necessary for the plan of God to be made known and carried out in his life. Barnabas was used to introduce Saul to the rest of the Apostles and the church in Jerusalem. We can all learn from this beautiful narrative and ask God to reveal how we can better understand the plan that God has for others and to play a part in seeing His plan fulfilled for someone else.
So how can we do this? How can you or I play a role in the plan that God has for someone else? In order for God to use our life to work in someone else’s life:
We should have a surrendered will before God.
We should be prayerful, with specificity and honesty.
We should lean not on your own understanding.
We should be willing to take risks for others’ sake.
We should be open to receive a person in Christ’s love.
We should help connect others to the church, the body of Christ.
Are you willing to do these things on behalf of someone else's life?
So far we have been introduced to two different men with the name, "Ananias". One represents a life well lived and the other a life that is wasted. You can choose to follow one example of one Ananias or the other. In Acts 5, we learn that the first Ananias LIED to the Spirit and HELD BACK land to prepare for his own future security. In the end, he died and the church was not fully benefited by his actions, except for an example of what not to do and to fear God. In Acts 9, we see how this Ananias RELIED on the Spirit and was used to GIVE BACK vision to Saul and set him up for future success. In the end, he added life to Saul and the church was abundantly blessed by his sacrificial and selfless service to him.
In the final analysis: Jesus loves you and He does have a plan for your life...but He wants you to learn THIS GREATER LESSON that: "Jesus loves someone else and has a plan to use you to fulfill God’s plan for someone else.”
ACTS IN ACTION Challenge Point:
Identify others who are unsure of God’s Plan.
Ask the Lord to show you how you can help them
Reach out in love to connect them to Christ’s church.