Friday, October 03, 2008

Acts 21:37-22:16

Have you ever know someone who really changed? In particular, someone whose values have really changed? In these verses Paul is describing his conversion and the resulting changes in his life. He had been an enemy of Christians, binding them and putting them in prison. Not long after his conversion he was preaching about Jesus being the Son of God and as a result, his own life was in danger. He was being persecuted, just as he used to persecute Christians.

For the rest of his life Paul would recount how he saw Jesus. We all can know God but Paul was chosen by God in a special way, to know Him and to suffer for Him. Ananias was a prophet, called by God in a vision to go to Paul right after Paul’s conversion. (at first Ananias wasn’t happy about this call. In Acts 9: 13 Ananias protests to God that Paul was a violent man who was after Christians, and God replies something like, you heard me the first time. Go. So, Ananias went). Ananias told Paul that God had chosen Paul to know God’s will, to see Christ and to hear the voice of Christ and then to tell the world what he had seen and heard.

As I think about the life of Paul, he did indeed do that; he spent his life telling the world about the Lord. He was really a changed man.

Reading about Paul’s conversion made me reflect on my own conversion. If you think about your own path to Christ, you may not remember bright lights or sudden blindness , as Paul experienced. Yet the fact that God reached down to us is a marvel. In my own case, I remember a summer morning when I was about six. I was sitting with my father, watching him shave. Something made me ask him if being a Christian was hereditary, something I got from my mother and him. No, he replied, you have to decide on your own to follow Christ. Now I realize that the marvel is, what made me ask that question? What made me think about what I needed to do to follow Christ? Of course it was God, reaching down in to my life, like He reached into yours and into Paul’s.

Paul was so amazed that the rest of his life became a mission. In that great passage in Philippians 3 he says, after I met Christ NOTHING ELSE mattered . All the good things in my life were like rubbish compared to knowing Christ. I’m telling you, all that matters to me now is knowing Christ.

I wonder what my life would look like if nothing else mattered but loving and knowing Christ. May we live lives that say, nothing else matters.

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