There are moments in our lives that leave a permanent image in our mind. Some may be events in history that we recall what we were doing when we heard the news, such as on 9/11. Others may be more personal events in your life that you will never forget. Clarifying moments jolt us out of our slumber—they force us to respond, to adjust, and to change our lives.
Sometimes those moments come as a result of a problem, an experience of pain, or a blessing from God—either an outright blessing or a blessing in disguise. Sometimes we have an “Aha!” moment when we learn something, meet a person, or travel to a new location where we encounter different cultures.
There is no end to the kinds of clarifying moments we can have in life. While such moments are innumerable and different for almost everyone, there is a single element in clarifying moments that is the same for everyone: the response! The purpose of clarifying moments is to show us the need to change—change how we think, how we act, what we believe, where we are going, who we associate with, and how we are investing our life. In short, regardless of the kind of moment we have, the universal response should always be, “Whoa!”—followed by taking a seat in the nearest chair to consider, contemplate, and yes, pray about what we’ve just experienced.
Some clarifying moments are universal—they affect all of mankind at the same time. But moments like that are few and far between. What happens far more often are the clarifying moments we experience as individuals: the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, a narrow escape from death or injury, the discovery of an unforeseen opportunity, an answered prayer.
Personal clarifying events for the Christian should evoke the same response that the apostle Paul had when he encountered Christ on the Damascus road: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:6) To say that encounter was a clarifying moment for Paul is an understatement to say the least. Think about what it meant for him to be asking Jesus of Nazareth what he should do next. At that very moment, Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute and put in jail any Jew who claimed to be a follower of Jesus. And now he was seeking clarification (the trademark evidence of a clarifying moment!) from the One he had been persecuting.
In the word “clarify,” you can find the central idea of a clarifying moment: to make clear. In a clarifying moment, a strong wind comes by and blows away the fog that had clouded our vision. And that’s what the apostle Paul experienced. He had been spiritually blind to the deity of Christ, thought He was a Galilean rabble-rouser and self-promoting false Messiah. But in an instant, Paul saw Jesus as Lord. And to give Paul an object lesson in clarity, God blinded him physically for three days. His blindness in those 72 hours made Paul say, “I’ve been spiritually blind about Jesus all this time. But now I see clearly in my heart who He is.”
Obviously, the Damascus road experience was a clarifying moment for Saul of Tarsus. The fact that we know him as the apostle Paul means that he responded to the clarity he was given. He changed his whole life. He got off the wrong road he had been on and got on the right road. Paul was never the same again.
The Gift of Clarity
We never know when clarifying moments will happen. When they do, they are like an infinitely valuable gift we have been given. But like all gifts of great value, with the gift of clarity comes the responsibility to use our new vision and focus responsibly— to be a good steward of what we now see that we didn’t see before.
What clarity might you anticipate receiving? A reminder that God is in the details of your life? An encouragement not to be careless or callous about the divine appointments God arranges for you? If so, be ready to duplicate Paul’s response the next time you have a clarifying moment and say: “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Every gift of God is good and perfect, including the gift of clarity. God has clarifying moments ahead as you walk with Him. Make sure you live with your spiritual eyes wide open.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God, and serves as
Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
This Is How David Jeremiah Begins His Weekly Sermon Preparation...For years, David Jeremiah has begun his weekly sermon preparation by copying the central Scripture passage word-for-word using pen and paper. About this habit, he says, “It’s hard to describe, but the blessing and insights I have received from this practice are almost incalculable.”To guide you through this powerful process, David has designed The Written Word Journal for the book of Romans. Request your copy this month with a gift of any amount.