Permission to Change -- Are You Trapped By the Past?
"All those who heard him were astonished and asked, 'Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?' Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ."
Thoughts for Today:Saul was like one of those guys from an old western movie who wore a black hat -- he was easily identifiable as one of the bad guys. Yet here he was doing just the opposite of what he had come to Damascus to do. Saul was now "proving that Jesus is the Christ" (rather than persecuting Christians), and he was getting stronger and more convincing the longer he spoke. Everyone was really confused -- Saul was just not the same person.
We know the Jews living in Damascus were baffled and astonished because Saul had so completely and radically changed his message -- I wonder how those closest to him felt. I wonder if they sat down with him and tried to talk some sense into him; tried to get him to understand the consequences of his change; how his position at work or church was going to be affected (he was a Pharisee); or how his family would feel. I don't think Saul talked to his employer or his family before he embarked on his new ministry, and I don't think they gave him their permission before he started. What kind of courage and conviction would it take for you to completely reverse your previous positions, words, and life work as Saul did? How would your friends and family react?
Questions to Ponder:Do you need someone else's permission to change? Would Saul have been as effective in his ministry if he sought other people's approval before he began? Did Saul allow his past to determine or dictate his future? Do you? What relationship, attitude or previous behavior do you need to change? Where can you begin today?
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