On the Road to Change
Saul was a man of the world. He did not walk with God. He did not talk to God. Instead, he chased after God’s people, torturing whoever got in his way until one day, God spoke to him.
“Saul! Why do you harass and mistreat my people?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul questioned.
“I am Jesus, and because you are hurting my people, you have hurt me. Now get up, go into the city, and listen to the directions given to you.”
The men who were traveling with Saul could not even speak for what they had just witnessed, and when Saul got up, he could not see anything for three days. He didn’t even eat or drink a thing. In the meantime, Ananias, a resident of Damascus had a dream and God spoke to him in that dream.
“Ananias. Go to Straight Street and find the house of Judas. You are looking for a man named Saul from Tarsus. He already knows you are coming because just like you, I spoke to him in his dreams.”
“But God, Ananias stated in fear, He is not a nice guy. Have you not seen what all he has done to your people? Besides, his only business in town is to arrest those who are obedient to you. God did not listen to Ananias’s excuses.
“Go! I have chosen Saul to explain to the Gentiles exactly who I am. I have already taken care of everything. You just need to go!” So off Ananias went, and he placed his hands on Saul and explained how Jesus had sent him to help him understand. While the two were talking, something like scales began to fall from Saul’s eyes and his vision was restored (Acts 9:1). Eventually God renamed Saul to Paul-meaning humble, which is exactly how Paul became.
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”(1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
When was the last time we Christians truly became like Paul? It seems like our days are filled from sun up to sun down with as many activities and items on our “to-do” list for the day. Is it easier to write out our monthly tithe check than to spend our time ministering to the shut-ins, the impoverished, the ones who have no one to visit them, the person struggling with an addiction or a lifestyle choice? Of course it is because it involves more than signing our name. It involves our heart.
Paul says that he chose to become a slave to all people regardless of their choices. He didn’t do this to judge or condemn people, but he did it for the sake of Jesus. He chose to develop relationships with people and through those relationships, he showed them love, mercy, and kindness because by his actions, he knew that some may be saved.
Instead of being known as judgmental Christians, let us correct those who have defiled the name and walk in the truth always bearing witness to one another knowing that in us lives Christ Jesus who loves people and wishes for no one to perish. Let us as followers of Christ, as my pastor says, “Love God, Love People, and Meet Real Needs.”