Self-Inflicted Wounds

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Most people act in their own best interests.  Paul mentons this aspect of human nature in Eph. 5:29 where he writes, “For no man yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.”  However, there are occasions in which we make choices that are not in our own best interest.  Every time we sin, we create a self-inflicted wound.
In Acts 9:1-6, we find a man by the name of Saul.  Saul was persecuting the Lord’s church and consequently, the Lord Himself (Acts 9:2, 4).  Saul (later known as Paul) describes his own conduct prior to conversion to Christ in I Tim. 1:13 where he states that he was a blasphemer, injurious, and a persecutor.  In Acts 9:5, Jesus uses a figure of speech to reveal an important truth to Saul.  He said, “…it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (KJV).  Another word for “pricks” is “goads.”  This figure originates in agriculture.  A farmer could drive an ox forward by using a long, sharp stick to prod the ox.  When the ox resisted the goad, he inflicted a wound and caused pain.  The wound was self-inflicted because of the stubbornness of the ox.  Saul’s persecution of the Lord and His church had an unintended consequence.  It resulted in a self-inflicted wound.  Saul was resisting the work of God.  His unbelief resulted in sin that put his own soul in jeopardy.
All sin is “kicking against the goads.”  In I Cor. 15:56, God’s Word declares, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”  The word “sting” is from the same Greek word as “goad.”  The word refers to a sharp point.  All sin is self-inflicted (James 1:13-15).  James teaches that when we sin, we are drawn away of our own lusts.  When we yield to those lusts of the flesh, we sin and sin brings forth death (spiritual separation from God).  The more we sin against God, the more pain we inflict on ourselves.  The suffering that results from the consequences of sin cannot be blammed on anyone but ourselves.  The penalty for sin against God is severe.  It is everlasting punishment.
The remedy for this situation is to follow the same pathway as Saul of Tarsus.  In Acts 9 we are told that once Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, that Saul was told to go into the city and it would be told him what he must do.  A man by the name of Ananias came to Saul and told him to be baptized (Acts 22:16).  Saul was baptized into Christ (Acts 9:15).  Saul turned to the Lord.  He sought forgiveness from Jesus Christ for his sins.  He stopped resisting God.  He accepted God’s grace (I Tim. 1:14).  He fully obeyed the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16).  Saul stopped inflicting pain on himself and began seeking the wonderful blessings of grace.  Immediately, he began to teach in the city of Damascus that Jesus was the Son of God. He proclaimed the gospel which he had formerly denied and persecuted.  The remedy for sin is reconcilation to God through Jesus Christ (II Cor. 5:17-21).