Sometimes it’s hard to get up when you’ve fallen. But like Paul, God invites us to get off the floor and get to our feet.
Paul was after blood.
Full of rage, he stormed down the highway towards the city of Damascus to destroy those who had begun to follow Jesus. But just as he and his entourage were at full speed, a light from heaven suddenly shone around him and he fell to the ground.
The source of light was Jesus. In the midst of his murderous pursuit, Jesus came to bring him mercy and forgiveness, and completely alter the trajectory of his life.
As Paul’s face pressed up against the dusty road, he may have been tempted to remain as close to the ground as possible and cower in shame and regret. He had after all torn apart families and destroyed the lives of those who had risked everything to follow Jesus.
But Jesus had other plans.
In this moment of great sobriety, Jesus invited Paul out of a life that was defined by the past, and into a life that would be defined by the call of God:
“Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness… I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins” – Acts 26:16-18 (NLT)
These four words, “get to your feet” were filled with the promise of forgiveness and hope for the future. They called Paul to rise out of the dust of his shame and guilt, and into the clean air of God’s grace and mercy.
Along his journey, Paul must have referred to these four words spoken to him by Jesus. As the regret from the past threatened to seep into the present and strangle his progress, he had to remind himself (and others) to focus on what lay before them:
“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race” – Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)
No matter where you are in your journey in life, Jesus still speaks the same words to us today. “Get to your feet. Get out of the dust and into the clean air of my grace, and step into the purpose for which I have created you for!”