Acts 24:25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
This has always seemed a little amusing to me, if it weren’t so serious. Many, many people have Felix’s response to hearing the Gospel. Paul wasn’t preaching “your best life now,” he was telling it like it really is, that we are accountable before God for everything we say and do, and it is only by faith in His grace, through the cross of Christ, that we have any hope at all. Frankly, I don’t think the Gospel gets presented that way very often. However, Paul was so committed to God’s truth that he could only speak the truth in love, whatever the consequences to himself. He demonstrated earlier in the chapter that he could be just as smooth a talker as the “district attorney” who was accusing him, but he wasn’t going to say anything that was less than the truth, even to get himself out of a really tight spot. If he had buttered Felix up, instead of confronting him with his need for repentance and faith, he might well have been released. However, the years of his imprisonment that followed allowed him to write the letters that form half of the New Testament, and all mankind has been blessed. He had already written some of those letters, but some of them could not be written, as far as he was concerned, until he had gone through more. Here he gives us a perfect example of “speaking truth to power.” We need to follow his example, even if the consequences to us are the same as they were to him.
Of course this applies to me as much as it does to anyone else. I am not to offend needlessly, but I am certainly not to hold back from anything the Lord is saying because of a fear of offending. I have done that far too many times! I am not to be needlessly confrontational, but I must overcome my fear of man that makes me draw back from conflict. I am to allow the Holy Spirit full control of my mouth, whether I am speaking English or Japanese, and not just when I’m speaking in tongues. I must not value people liking me more than I value their eternal salvation!
Father, thank You for this reminder, particularly as the next 48 hours will be packed with personal interactions. I pray that my words would be gracious and “seasoned with salt,” (Colossians 4:6) blessing my hearers and also challenging them to draw close to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!