So, you all know I love Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study, right? Well, it’s that time again! This time, she’s leading a study from the book, Greater, written by pastor Steven Furtick. The book is awesome – if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for? And while you’re at it, hop on over to Melissa’s Blog and join us in the study!
One question that Melissa threw out for us bloggers this week was:
3. Lifted Up! “The president probably won’t release a statement calling us the greatest anything when we die…Nobody will post a blog entry about our lives…”. Write a blog post lifting up someone in your life or a person from Scripture who inspires you to live greater!
While there are many people who have helped pave the path in my life, both good and bad, there’s one man that has brought me more peace than I ever imagined. I didn’t really know of this man until a couple years ago and when I first heard his story, I immediately felt peace.
This man was an angry, ugly, bitter man. He committed horrible crimes – murder. He was viscous and evil. He lived to destroy.
This man swore to wipe out Christianity.
His name was Saul.
On a trip to Damascus with friends, Saul was blinded by a light and then heard a voice, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Acts 9:4. Saul questioned who was speaking to him. A voice said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:5-6 Saul was blinded. His friends led him on to Damascus.
In Damascus, a man named, Ananias, was told in a vision from Jesus, to seek Saul. Jesus said, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”
He was telling this man to go to Saul, a murderer, a liar, the man who wanted nothing more than to destroy Christianity, because he was chosen … chosen to serve God, to be a man of God, to love God and to tell others about God.
How unlikely is that?
Wow! Every time I hear this story, it gives me chills but how reassuring is it that God could love a man who had done so much evil, so much wrong? He could forgive him and in turn, use his story to glorify the kingdom of God.
Ananias was afraid. He knew Saul’s reputation, but he trusted the Lord and obeyed. He went for Saul. Ananias found Saul at Judas’ house, praying for help. Ananias laid his hands on Saul, telling him Jesus had sent him to restore his sight and that Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Scales fell from Saul’s eyes. He arose and was baptized.
Saul became a new man. He changed his name to Paul.
Of course I’m not sure on all the reasons around why he changed his name exactly, but I have a feeling it had a lot to do with putting his past behind him. I don’t imagine too many people would just welcome him in to teach about God considering his past goal was to destroy Christianity. I think it was a good move on his part and perhaps it was a suggestion from God ;)
Anyway, Paul went on to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest teachers ever. He lead people, he loved people and he shared the things God had done in his life. He didn’t hide from his past, but instead, he used it, to glorify the one who brought him out of the darkness.
And that is exactly why I chose Paul as my greater man. Paul has taught me that it doesn’t matter where I came from, God can use me, if I allow him to. He can take all the dirty, all the shame, all the sin and use it for something greater. He can use me, yes me, for something greater. I am not my past but my past is in me and the memories I have carried and held onto are my testimony to the darkness I have come from, and the light I have found. I choose not to let my story or past weigh me down and burden me, but instead to allow God to use it, to help others, to bring others out of that darkness and to glorify Him!
Paul’s testimony is one of forgiveness, desperation, hope, faith, change, grace. Paul handed over a life of evil to live a life of glory, to glorify his new Lord & Savior.
© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com