Saul (soon to be Paul) had just been knocked off of his high horse. He encountered Jesus, and changed the course of his life. Because he was a man that put 100% into whatever he did, his destructive life became constructive.
Acts 9:20 – Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. (21) Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” (22) But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
However, after he encountered Jesus, he also encountered the devil. The devil is generally quite happy with us when we agree with him, but when we start messing with his influence he starts to plan ways to put us back under control or to get rid of us.
Acts 9:23 – Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. (24) But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. (25) Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.
The first way that the devil gets us is by the “back to normal” plot. The devil hopes that apathy or a lack of diligence will set in on a religious experience, and that we will soon regress back to our previous unholy lifestyle. Maybe the devil is waiting for you to get over spiritual commitments that you made at a camp meeting, youth conference, or church service. You can see this in v 23 where the Jews let Saul’s experience settle out over “many days” to see if he had really changed or not. Well, he had, and that was definitely a problem.
The second way that the devil gets us is by throwing all the troubles that he can at us to knock us off course. In Saul’s case they cut right to the chase and tried to kill him. In my life I know that when I’ve been real close to God life gets busy, accidents happen, my schedule gets crazy, and my planned time with God, the connection that sustains me, gets eroded. I need to know that the cares of this life are going to spring up and try to keep me from bearing fruit, and I need to fight the temptations and perplexities of life.
Let’s resist the devil in these two attacks. Let’s hold on tight and maintain our connection with God, and not get tired or apathetic and let it slip away. We should also be prepared to fight the onslaught when it comes. Whether that means fighting for priorities on our schedule, drawing boundaries, committing to the principle of longsuffering, cutting off destructive relationships, or even running for our lives if it is appropriate to do that. Let us fight the good fight and hang onto Jesus as the most important thing in our life.
1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.