Momentarily forgetting the difference in rank and status, Paul now spoke face to face with Agrippa. He engaged him on his knowledge of the Scriptures. He then listened for Herod’s reply. It was a reply heard around the world: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (26:28 NIV). What a question! The apostle’s enthusiasm could no longer be contained. In unguarded abandon, he exclaimed, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains” [26:29].
That may have been the crowning moment of Paul’s entire life. Chains on his wrist rattled as the prisoner raised his arms to deliver that closing line. What an epochal moment! His words brought proud Agrippa so close to the throne of grace he nearly bowed before the King of kings!
When you stand tall for Christ, you’re so focused that you feel invincible. Now don’t allow that thought to slip past too quickly. You may have never experienced that sort of bold abandon because you’ve not allowed yourself to be in a challenging situation. Most play it safe. It’s more convenient to let someone else do the talking. It’s easier to let another climb to the heights and risk falling.
However, when the day arrives and you decide to stand tall for what’s right, your focus on that all-important issue will give you a feeling of invincibility. The odds will mean nothing. You will be unimpressed with other folks sitting or standing in front of you. Neither credentials nor titles will intimidate you. Your convictions will carry you forward in a strength not your own. Like Paul, you will have become God’s voice for that hour.
When you stand tall for Christ, you are so passionate that you don’t realize your ultimate impact. Standing for the principle at stake is all that matters. Paul’s audience simply got up and left. On the exterior it looked like the hearing had been a waste of time. Yet who can say? Who knows what Agrippa dreamed of that very night and in the nights that followed Paul’s speech? I wouldn’t be surprised if compromising Festus continued to squirm at Paul’s compelling witness.
Only God knows the true impact of Paul’s heroic stand that day by the sea. Ultimately, only God knows the impact of yours as well.
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.