I Double Dare You!

by Rob Dunne

Dare by Peter Blanchard
CC BY-ND 2.0

And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 9:5

“I double dare you!” Those words were frightening as a kid. It meant a peer was goading you into doing something stupid or dangerous. If you had the guts to accept the challenge and successfully accomplished it, you were a hero. Fail to meet the challenge and you were the embarrassment of the neighborhood; At least until the next sucker was challenged.

I am not a farmer. It is my understanding, however, that farmers who still use beasts of burden like oxen to plow their fields use a goad. A goad is what helps the animal maintain a straight line or is used to increase its pace. It is an instrument that causes discomfort to make corrections.

Jesus used the analogy of a goad with the apostle Paul. Paul, formerly known as Saul, made it his life’s mission to destroy Christianity. While traveling to Damascus, he had an encounter with Jesus. First, Jesus asked him why he was persecuting Christians. Then He called him out and said that it was difficult for Paul to “kick against the goads.” In modern terms, Paul was fighting against the evidence that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and he needed a course correction.

Paul was a religious zealot. He belonged to a sect called the Pharisees who taught a strict adherence to the law of Moses. The Pharisees further burdened believers by piling on a list of man made traditions. Their religion taught that access to God and heaven was accomplished by following the law and doing good deeds. Unfortunately, that is a lie that continues tripping people up to this day.

At its core, Christianity is about relationship. God the Father wants us to have a relationship with Him that is fluid and dynamic. As we grow in our intimacy with Him, He reveals Himself to us and He shows us who we were originally created to be.

That is why reading the bible is critically important. Throughout its pages, it unveils our true identities as sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit quickens that truth to our hearts and helps us to model kingdom living to the world around us. Hopefully, the light within us attracts the attention of others and draws them to the heart of God.

What are some of the truths that the bible reveals about our true identity in Jesus Christ? We are sons and daughters; we are redeemed; we are healed; just as Jesus is, so are we in this world; we have the mind of Christ; we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength; we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and we are saints (people set apart).

Are you living in your true identity today or are you still struggling to relate to God through your good deeds and abiding by the law? If the former, keep pressing in! If the latter, I encourage you to let go of that religious mentality and allow yourself to be set free. After all, whom the Son sets free is free indeed!