Let God Interpret the Facts
By Rick Warren
— March 1, 2011
“This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘The owner of this belt will be tied up in this way by the Jews in Jerusalem, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” Acts 21:11 (TEV)
Have you ever done the very thing God told you to do and then ended up in what seemed like a worse situation?
The Apostle Paul experienced this on several occasions, but what kept him going was his trust in God’s character. Paul trusted that God was in control and knew what he was doing no matter how things appeared.
And that means Paul took steps of faith based on his belief in God and not according to the circumstances he was in or would end up in. (As Pastor Pete Wilson might say, Paul placed his faith in God’s identity, not in his ability to see God’s activity.)
For instance, when Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, a prophet named Agabus came to see him. He took Paul’s belt and he tied it around his own hands and feet, telling the apostle, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘The owner of this belt will be tied up in this way by the Jews in Jerusalem, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” (Acts 21:11 TEV)
Hearing this, Paul’s friends immediately tried to talk him out of going to Jerusalem, but he went anyway, saying, “I am ready not only to be tied up in Jerusalem but even to die there for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13 TEV)
What the Holy Spirit told Agabus was fact: Paul was bound and handed over to the Gentiles in Jerusalem. Yet, the facts, by themselves, do not reveal the whole truth.
God used Paul’s arrest as the means for getting him to Rome, which is where Paul wanted to go all along. Once in Rome, Paul was placed under house arrest, forcing him to stay in one place after so many years on the road as a missionary.
Bound in chains, Paul began to write letters to the congregations he’d helped plant, and some of those letters are part of the New Testament we read today.
God is in the best position to interpret the facts of your life. Place your faith in him and not your circumstances.
This devotional is by Jon Walker, editor of the Daily Hope Devotionals and author of Costly Grace. Rick Warren says Costly Grace “strips discipleship down to its essentials, where we discover again that, when we face uncertainty, our only certainty is in Jesus.”
In his book, Plan B, Pete Wilson teaches how place your faith in God’s identity, not his activity. Pete is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a guest speaker at Saddleback Church.
Are you following with Pastor Rick on the Daniel Plan? He’s lost 21 pounds so far. Learn how you can develop a healthier lifestyle to prepare you for living out your purpose.