Are you looking for encouragement? The Apostle Paul is the one to look at. His life is a testimony of change. His life shows us just what God can do and is willing to do. The Apostle Paul walked a road that was not one glorious to God above. He lived for himself. He was selfish and arrogant. Not much can come from a man stuck in himself, but when he gives himself up for the cause of Christ, nothing can hold him back from making a huge impact on this world. That is exactly what happened to Paul when he stopped in his tracks on a road and saw in front of him what life should be, could be.
We always seem to think we are our pasts. We get stuck there in the muck and mire of our sins, of our guilt and shame. We don't have to stay there. We are not our pasts, although they are part of us. They can be part of our powerful testimony of what God can do with one man, one women, willing to open their hearts to Christ and all He has for us.
We hold that shame of yesterday like it is a trinket. We carry it with us wherever we go. It is the topic we don't want to talk about, but some how our minds always go there to that one day, that one year, that one mistake that changed everything for us. No matter where we try to go, it's there following us. But that shadow of past doesn't have to caste over us any longer. We can place ourselves under the light of Christ and walk in His shadow, being a reflection of Him everywhere we go.
Satan would love nothing more than for us to just stay in our past and fear our future. We must remember Satan has nothing on us! We don't have hide in fear, nor do we have to walk with our heads down in shame. We must come to realize we are forgiven. We are children of God. When we come to Christ, He looks to us with love and compassion. He meets us just where we are. He meets us on that road we travel daily. That road of sin that holds us back from experiencing the greatest love of all, Christ's love. He has so much for us. He carved out our path before we were born. He created something unique in all of us and it is time we stopped looking at ourselves as less and beginning to see more, more with Christ living in us. His Holy Spirit steps inside our hearts and not only changes us forever, but lives with us, abides in us, and walks every road with us. Never leaving or forsaking us. But at times, even carrying us when we can no longer take a step on our own.
I have been there. I have walked that lonely road, thinking this is all life could be. I remember the fear and the pain in my heart, a pain that just wouldn't subside. But on that day my husband walked me into our church eighteen years ago, my life changed forever. As I sat there listening, I thought, "God would never love me." I remember thinking, "I do not belong here." But that is exactly where I belonged. It is where God called me that day, because He knew just what I needed to hear and He had that day planned long before I ever knew what was happening. I handed our baby boy to my husband and moved out of that pew, legs shaking, fear leaving, and accepted Christ as my Savior. I didn't have to fix myself up first. I just had to believe. I just had to have faith. Jesus washed His love over me. His acceptance. His grace. His mercy. That day, I saw Jesus had another road for me to be on. He wanted me to travel a different route with a different purpose for life. He filled me with passion. It just so happened this day, this Sunday was just before Thanksgiving Day. What a day of thanks we had. Little did I know how my husband had been praying for me. Little did I know how powerful prayer was.
I didn't grow up in church. Never walked into a church with my parents. I had no idea there was life beyond what I knew until I met the man of my dreams who lead me to the One I would love forever more.
As Paul was on this road of destruction, God saw him and knew what a great value Paul could be to the Kingdom of God. God wasn't giving up on Paul. At that time, Paul was Saul. That man who persecuted the very people he became. Paul had to let go of his past in order for God to change his future. Paul had to see beyond himself and see God as his creator and Savior.
As others saw the change in Paul, they remembered his past. They knew the person he was and now the person he was becoming. That is a powerful statement for others to witness. Paul didn't nor could he change on his own. That was something only God could do. Paul's walk changed lives then and is still changing lives today. Christ moving in Paul shows us never to give up on another. Life is not over until our last breath. We are not our past, but we are a future with Christ.
We can read about Paul and his conversion in Acts chapter 9. We can read Paul's letters, all thirteen of them. We can see how God in changing one man, changed a world around us. One man can make a powerful statement of the love of Christ. God can move through one man, touching thousands, millions for His glory. I encourage you to read Paul's story. Dig in deep and look at the man he was and the man he became with Christ living in him.
On his way to Damascus, he wanted to bring back those very Christians making a stir around him. But on this road, he met Christ and didn't bring back Christians for persecution, but was blinded for three days. His fellow friends had to lead him around. He was lost in his own blindness. He could no longer keep his eyes on himself, but had to find a different way to walk. Look at verse 15 where God is speaking to Ananias, who was called to lay his hand on Saul to bring healing. "But the Lord said, 'God, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name's sake.'" Ananias went just as God told him, and laid hands on Saul, bringing sight back to him. It tells us in verse 20, "And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, 'He is indeed the Son of God!'" Paul lived for Christ for the rest of his days, and made an impact for the One who came to give him life, a new life.
Wherever you today, whatever road you are on, Christ can find you there. He is already there waiting on you. He is knocking, waiting for you to answer His call. Don't waste another day on your past, your pain, your fear, your shame. Allow God to take all that away and bring a healing you never knew possible. Call out to Him today and He will answer. He will take you by the hand, wrap His arms around you and never let go! You are an instrument in God's orchestra!!
Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
Philippians 1:20-21 "For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. for to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better."