Paul is a classic example of God being able to use anyone for his purpose and glory. When you think of how Paul (then named Saul) persecuted Christians and also sat back and watched as Stephen was stoned to death, it’s amazing how God is able to touch a heart and transform it. What is even more special about Paul’s conversion was the fact that Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus. It wasn’t God speaking and commanding Paul, it was Jesus himself whom Paul was persecuting directly.
“Who are you, Lord? “ Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, he replied.” (Acts 9:5)
As I sit here and ponder Paul’s conversion, I wonder about how he then felt about his past and all the horrible things that he did. Did he feel guilty? Did he struggle to rid himself of his shame? Or was he transformed instantly, washed clean and thus able to do God’s work unhindered?
I believe it was the latter. I believe that hearing our Saviour’s voice and being blinded cleansed him and gave him the confidence and comfort he needed to just get on with God’s work. We, as humans, can learn a valuable lesson from this. I know that I certainly can.
Paul knew that God had forgiven him of all his sins, so he was able to leave the past behind and move forward. He knew his purpose, which was to serve God and spread the Word. I need to take this knowledge and apply it to myself. I need to really feel it; to care enough about myself, as God does, to realise that I have been forgiven and can move forward.
God is amazing. His grace is awe-inspiring; how He can love us for who we are with our faults and all. It’s incredible that He touches hearts like He does. Every Sunday in church as the pastor prays for those who have heard God’s voice during the meeting to raise their hand, I pray for them too. I pray that their hearts will be opened and they will give themselves over to our wonderful God who loves and cherishes and cares for them. And who will transform their lives so that they will not feel needful, wanting, lacking, insecure, or insignificant ever again because they will have God, who is all they need.
God has a purpose for all His children, thus why He can use anyone for His glory. I am grateful that I have made it through the hard yards of life; the years of walking on the wrong path and making the wrong choices. I am thankful that even during these times I knew God was with me, even though I was acting like an ungrateful child and not wanting to take on board His guidance. I now know my purpose, and it’s to share His love for me, His grace, His favour, His mercy, His kindness, and so much more, with all those around me.
"...Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and...the Lord had spoken to him, and…he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus…speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 9:27, 28).
God saved Paul and God saved me, and God used Paul for His glory and will use me for His glory. God has proven on many occasions that He can save and use anyone.
(See Acts 9:1-31 for Saul’s Conversion and Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem.)