Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus was no passing dream. It was a vision that brought with it clear and emphatic instructions. Jesus told Paul that from now on Paul’s whole life was to be mastered: it was to be subdued, to have no end, aim, or purpose except Christ’s. “I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant.”

All of us, when we are born again, have visions of what Jesus wants us to be. The big thing we must learn is not to be disobedient to the vision; we must not say that it can’t be attained. We think it can’t be attained because our faith doesn’t have the proper foundations. It isn’t enough to believe that God has redeemed the world, or that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did come alive in us. We must have the basis of a personal relationship with him. Paul wasn’t given a script or a doctrine to proclaim; he was brought into a vivid, personal, overmastering relationship with Jesus Christ, and on this basis he became a witness.

We too must have as the foundation of our faith a personal relationship with Jesus. This is the only way our vision will be attained, and the only way we’ll succeed in obeying it. Verse 16 is immensely commanding: “to appoint you as a servant and as a witness.” There is nothing there apart from a personal relationship.

Paul was devoted to a person, not a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else; he lived for nothing else. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Wisdom from Oswald

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it.  Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1459 R