Personal encounter – Part 1
Text: Acts 9: 1-21
Key Verse: Acts 9:3, “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from Heaven.” (NKJV)
Personal encounter is a personal experience that brings one into a proper understanding of whom Jesus is. It is an encounter that will lead a person into a total yielding or surrendering of himself to the Lord. Saul had a personal encounter with God on his way to Damascus when suddenly a light shone around him from Heaven. “Personal” simply means you as a person and individual. There may be group encounter and there may be group experience, but there is a personal encounter with God where you encounter God as a person. The Heavenly race is a race you run in your personal capacity. God is going to respond to us in our individual capacities.
I don’t need to remind you that you are born as one person even if you are a twin or triplet or quad triplet or whatever. You came out of your mother’s womb as one. You grew up as one in whatever environment. When you gave your life to Jesus if you have done that, you did it as one person. Everything about you is one; you went to school as one person. You have one certificate that bears only your name at primary school level, secondary school level and at university level. You did your bachelor’s programme as an individual; you did your master’s as an individual and also your doctorate as an individual. You are just one person and you must understand it.
There is a sense in which the word “encounter” could be a military word. It could mean confrontation; it could even mean collision; It could refer to a struggle; it could even refer to an interview, and you say I had an encounter with him; it could refer to a battle; it could refer to a clash; we could talk about combat; we may see it as contest; we may see encounter as engagement and we may see encounter as experience that we have as an individual with God.
You may be thinking and asking who was Paul (formerly Saul) before the encounter? He is first mentioned in the New Testament as being the young man who watched over the clothes of those who stoned Stephen to death. They laid down their cloths at his feet, which was a symbol of authority (Acts 7:58). He was a greatly recognised person with the religious leadership of the times. So, he stood and instructed that they go ahead to kill Stephen and they put their cloths around him because he was a symbol of leadership at that time. In Acts 8:1, we read that Saul consented to the killing of Stephen, so, he was a man that had power. If they cast any vote anytime, he voted that Stephen should be killed because he was interested in wiping out anything that he believed was leading Israel away from true worship of a true God. That was his belief.
Paul speaking about himself after his conversion said he had tremendous zeal and he used it in fighting against the church of Jesus Christ at the point in time when he was ignorant of what the church stood for. He was blameless as far as the Jewish Law was concerned because he demanded the strictest obedience to the law (Philippians 3:3 – 6). What suddenly changed in Paul’s life? He had a personal encounter with Christ that made him to say in Philippians 3:8: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
• Today’s Nugget: Personal Encounter is personal experience with Christ
Prayer: Help me to encounter Jesus personally. Prayer lines: 08054477940. E-mail: email@example.com. Rev. Pastor Ejikeme Ejim, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God Nigeria.