We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ Acts 26:14I’ve grown accustomed to living life and ministering in a certain way. The Holy Spirit has helped me come into a fuller dimension of expressing His purposes and call in my life. But in my humanity, I like routine, comfort, and not having to change. I get comfortable with whatever level I am currently at. The longer we live life the less we like to change, even when change is initiated by the Lord. Why resist change? Because it takes energy, willful purpose, and intentional movement in the mind and heart. There is no cruise control in change. Therefore, we often resist what God desires to do in us in the next season.
Saul was resistant. In his encounter on the Damascus Road the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you persecute me? It is hard to kick against the goads’. One translation says ‘kicking against the pricks’. The Lord had been using a spiritual ‘goad’ on Saul for some time. A goad is a pointed stick used to prod animals such as oxen to respond. It’s often called an ‘oxgoad’ in scripture. Saul’s encounter was the culmination of a long process of goading and prodding by the Spirit to see the reality of Jesus as Messiah. He desired that Saul enter a new season of understanding; to become Paul. But Saul was a zealous, passionate student and disciple of the Law of Moses. The law had been in force for hundreds of years. It was the revelation of Yahweh awaiting fulfillment in a Messiah. Paul believed he was defending the Father even as he was persecuting the Son. Paul kicked against the Spirit of God who was prodding him toward a new level of revelation and knowledge about the Messiah. The old way was only for a season. The new way would bring forth the gospel to the world.
As the Holy Spirit takes us to new heights, depths and maturity, we get accustomed to that height, depth and level of maturity. It’s like a default setting on a computer, always booting up to the same setting. That setting may have been good for a season. It was a good setting. It was a good way. But the Lord is calling for an upgrade within! Today is a different season. Recall Jesus’ words to the teachers of the Law, ‘but can you not discern the signs of the times. (Matt. 16:3)
Paul’s resistance came to a climax on the Damascus Road. He needed a very personal, catalytic encounter to stop kicking against the goads. He got it! He changed from an opponent to a proponent, from resisting the Messiah to insisting He was the Messiah. Check your life today. Is there a place within you that is kicking against the goads of the Spirit? Stop the kicking. Accept the pricking.