When the great Apostle Paul stood before King Agrippa to make his defense, he rehearsed his conversion to Christianity. Paul spoke of how he had persecuted Christians, delivering them to be put to death. But one day as he was traveling to Damascus, he suddenly saw a bright light beyond the brightness of the sun. Then he heard a voice say, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks". The voice was that of Yeshua (Jesus).
When cultivating a field during the times in which the Bible was written, they would usually plow with oxen. To help keep the ox on course, they would use a goad, which was a stick about eight feet long with a sharp nail attached to the end. If the ox wandered to one side or the other, you would use the goad to prick it to get it back on course. Occasionally the ox would become angry when pricked and would kick back at you. Then you would simply hold your goad so each time the ox kicked he would kick the nail in the end of the goad. This is what Yeshua meant when he told Paul,
"It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."
Paul was so steeped in the religion of his fathers that he refused to see the truth. So much so that he was figuratively kicking back at the goading. We know that he had heard Stephen teach the word and it is highly probable that he even heard Yeshua teach, yet it wasn't until this miracle of grace and mercy that he finally saw the light, so to speak.
GOD has a course charted for each of our lives, one HE has prepared for us to run. It is only when we pursue that course that we will ever realize our purpose. Have you ever felt the goad? Have you ever kicked against the pricks? I have, and it is painful when I do. But when we get on track, accomplishing HIS good and acceptable and perfect will, then life flows like a river, we don't have to try to push it along. To help us maintain our Pursuit of our Purpose, GOD has given us His word, as the Apostle Paul revealed to Timothy in his second letter.
2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect [artios, fully prepared], throughly furnished unto all good works.
It is here revealed that Scripture is given that men of GOD may be fully prepared and throughly furnished. Prepared and furnished for what? "Unto all good works", which is of course the pursuit of our purpose. This Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof and correction. Doctrine so that we might know the truth, reproof for when we wonder off our course and correction so as to be able to find our way back to our purpose. Then we are instructed on how to become righteous.
PSALM 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
This verse has often been misquoted to enable people, who are in pursuit of their own pleasures, to justify their godless desires. Quite contrary to that, the psalm is revealing to us that as we delight in the LORD (not ourselves), HE shall place in our hearts the desires to seek HIS course, HIS purpose for our lives. As we delight in the LORD, HE shall give us, not necessarily the things our hearts desire, but rather HE shall give us the desires. Even as HE gave Yeshua the desires of His heart, His very purpose, so will HE give us the desires of our hearts. As Paul wrote the believers at Philippi,
PHILIPPIANS 2:3-16 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out [demonstrate] your own salvation with fear and trembling [obedience]. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation [generation], among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.