My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Friday, February 17, 2012
Bribery or self-control?
But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the
judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the
present, and when I find time I will summon you.”
(Acts 24:25 NASB)
At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by
Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse
(Acts 24:26 NASB)
Here again, we find the topic of bribery. It was a commonplace act
in society and everyone simply expected to be offered bribes. This is
the reality in much of our world today. Entire nations function on a
system of bribery and without it everything comes to a grinding halt.
That is exactly what happened to the Apostle Paul. Everything in his
life came to a grinding halt because he refused to stoop to bribery to
get himself out of prison. None of his friends who were a part of "the
Way" tried to bribe the officials either. That is because they had been
The contrast is made in Paul's life when we hear what it was that
Paul often discussed. The followers of the Way no longer lived within
the culture of the world, but now they exercised self-control, their
goal was to be holy and righteous people, and they lived with a focus on
the future, which was the judgment to come. It appears that Paul had
numerous conversations with Felix over a period of two years in which he
remained consistent in his faith. Finally, the consistency of this
counter-cultural behavior became frightening to Felix. Why so? Because
of the power of God revealed in such behavior. Our lives are to
glorify God, and when we allow him to fill us and transform us, there is
a self-control which results that can be frightening to the world. It
is in this that the righteousness of God is revealed and it makes the
We might want to equate the situation with the Apostle Paul with
Tim Tebow. Why? Because the obsession with Tim Tebow is similar -- the
world is waiting around for him to fall. His righteousness makes them
uncomfortable. Just like Felix kept waiting for a bribe which would
prove that Paul wasn't really serious about this, so we wait for Tim
Tebow to have some kind of a moral failure and prove he's not for real.
However, Paul was for real. Therefore he was consistent in his
Christian walk, ever keeping his eyes on the Lord, and his life
revealing to the world what it meant to be "in Christ."
Two choices are made very clear to us in this reading. There is the
Christian, Paul, who has been radically transformed by the infilling of
the Holy Spirit in his life, leading to a life of self-control and
righteousness, or there is the one who calls themselves a Christian, and
yet seeks the easy way out. We are not called to a faith that seeks
the easy way out. Rather, we are called to a faith that stands up
against the normal values of this world and lives a life as a citizen of
the kingdom of God. We are different. We are transformed. And yes,
it can be frightening to the world.
Lord, please help me not to conform to the patterns of this world, but to trust in you. Amen.