Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.
Thoughts for Today:Some people who meet me today, and are aware of my work for the Kingdom, have a difficult time understanding that I have not always been involved in ministry. In fact, just fifteen years ago I was a hard-core business owner focused on the bottom line of profitability and growing my business. But things changed. I had my own "Damascus Road" experience and I adjusted my life to the eternal truth of the Gospel. The people who knew me before probably have a harder time reconciling my transformation from a focus of grinding it out for greater earthly compensation, to my now wholehearted commitment to serving God and His eternal reward.
For Paul, it proved far easier for him to share the Gospel with people who didn't know him or his background. Why? Because those who didn't know him would judge based only on what they saw him doing, not on what he had done. And then when they heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy," they praised God. The churches of Judea rejoiced because they witnessed what God can do in any of us. Paul was himself both testimony and evidence of the transformational power of Jesus Christ.
All born again Christians have the same ability to be transformed. (Romans 12:1-2a: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed...") How does transformation occur? When we offer ourselves sacrificially to Him. I pray that each of us will have the faith and courage to experience the glory of God in our lives.
Questions to Ponder:The problem with a "living sacrifice" is that it can crawl off the altar. Have you crawled off the altar of sacrificial commitment to Him? Have you lost a little joy, peace, prosperity, or any of the other blessings God has promised to His people? Perhaps it is time to rejoin Him in worship? Will you offer yourself to Him today?