Day 32

Paul



Acts 9:1-30, Acts 13:1-12, 2 Corinthians 11:18-31, 2 Timothy 4:6-8

BY Bailey Gillespie

Have you ever been to a gym with a coaching program that promises personal transformation? I’ve known people who have signed up for those, and it often works. Over the course of six weeks, their bodies went from looking like they had never set foot in a gym to approaching model-worthy. Unfortunately, most of the time, the results didn’t last. Because the thing with transformation is that it requires you to stay committed far beyond the accountability that a six-week program offers.

Unlike a fitness routine, Paul’s inner transformation was lasting. It was so quick it’s almost unbelievable. If we didn’t have his full ministry story, thanks to the New Testament, we might be more skeptical. Who is this guy who suddenly decided he was on the same team as Christ’s followers? One day he’s breathing threats and murder and the next he’s proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues (Acts 9:1, 20). What made the difference?

Christ made the difference. His calling on Paul’s life is what changed him, as God commissioned him to be a “chosen instrument” and take His name to “Gentiles, kings, and Israelites” (Acts 9:15), when Paul encountered a light from heaven. Once he’d encountered the true, living Christ, Paul never went back to his old ways of living.

Understandably, Paul received distrust from those who only knew him as a murderer, and so he had to rest in the knowledge that God knew his heart and its transformation. That’s what mattered most. God was his defender and advocate and, as we see from Barnabus’s response, He sent people from Paul’s community to advocate for him too (Acts 9:27). No matter how unbelievable it looked, the apostle’s transformation was real.

We are human beings who will inevitably fall short. There is grace for that. When it’s merely our own resolve that gets us into the gym or prompts us to give up something, the results may or may not be what we’d hope for. But when it’s God who calls us into something, there is a much better success rate. When it comes to that kind of supernatural spiritual transformation, He alone completes the work and deserves all the glory (2Corinthians 11:30–31).

Post Comments (38)

38 thoughts on "Paul"

  1. Alicia McCann says:

    What a powerful story, amazing how Jesus can completely transform a person and turn the whole direction of their lives upside down

  2. Rebecca Walker says:

    So much division, so much hate being spewed back and forth in our country (and also in my own heart). It is somewhat uplifting to know that there’s nothing new under the sun and there was hate and division in the time of Paul. BUT, Jesus still reigns “…where’er the sun” and He is still on the throne. Lord forgive me, forgive us as a nation, and help us.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I know that God has changed so many things in my heart, but I’m so glad that he isn’t done with me yet!

  4. Lehua K. says:

    My comment was lost and I can’t remember what I initially wanted to comment… I’m a few days behind but will catch up this weekend. It is always such a joy to read all your comments and learn from you. It takes me some time and I have been caught up with many changes at work. I will be better next week with managing my time especially around devotional time.

    Tina, your story touched my heart… I will always remember and think of you when I hear the words BUT GOD… Thank you so much for sharing.

    Blessings sisters as we all head into the weekend.

  5. Michelle V. says:

    Jennifer A, in response to your question about singing in CA churches: my husband is a worship pastor (in CA), and his understanding is that it was only directed at churches in high risk areas. So, we continue to sing. And seats in our sanctuary are spaced more than 6′. Also, I have not seen any data showing that people are becoming ill as a result of singing in church. I personally believe this is an overreach of our governor, like so many of the current restrictions that are going back in to place.

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