God goaded and prodded the stubborn pride of Saul—that Pharisaic ox. Day after day he kicked against those goads, until finally he got the message. There would be no more running. No more hiding. The fight was over. As always, God won.
C. S. Lewis likened God’s conquering work of Saul’s rebel will to a divine chess player: systematically, patiently maneuvering his opponent into a corner until finally he concedes. “Checkmate.”
Like Saul, we’re no match for God. Checkmate is inevitable. It’s no game either. God will do whatever it takes to bring us to a point of absolute dependence on Him. He will relentlessly, patiently, faithfully goad until we finally and willingly submit to Him.
You’re probably not a notorious criminal. I know that. More important, God knows that. Your life may be morally clean. Let’s face it, you may qualify as the finest person on your block. You don’t cheat on your taxes or deliberately lie to your partner. You may have never committed what we would call a scandalous act, to say nothing of seriously hurting someone you love. You’re living a life that’s impressive to others, but you are light years from being righteous before God. Until you’ve surrendered your life to Christ, you’re as lost as Saul was on the Damascus road.
If you’ve never made that decision, what a great moment this would be if you’d set this reading aside, bow your heart before the living Christ at this tender moment, and receive Him as your Savior.
You may have been a Christian for some time, but you’re clinging to the reins of your own rebel will. You need to know that God will goad you too. Sooner or later He’ll get your attention. No matter what it takes. He’ll bring you to a place in your life where you realize there’s no point in continuing to kick against the goads.
Don’t wait for a storm. By then it may be too late. Settle it today on your knees. Give God complete control. Stop your own Damascus Road journey today. Like Saul, surrender. And like Saul, you’ll never regret it.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.