Read His Words Before Ours!
Saul is walking along the road to Damascus, on a journey with the goal of persecuting those who follow the teachings of Jesus, claiming they are part of “The Way.”
In this place of unadulterated hatred, Saul has a radical encounter with God.
God speaks, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Saul is completely blinded, asking, “Who are you, Lord?” (Acts 9:4-5)
He is given instruction to head into the city of Damascus. Although physically blind, disoriented, and unsure where this path would lead, he knows the Lord is directing him. Days later, Saul is approached by Ananias, who was sent by God to pray over Saul, to help him “regain [his] sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit”. (Acts 9:17-18) His name is changed to Paul, symbolizing the death of his past and the freedom of his future in Christ. He speaks boldly, claiming Jesus is the Messiah.
In Paul’s conversion story, we see a complete transformation from the life he was living before Christ to the life he is living knowing Christ. After salvation and adoption into the family of God, Paul’s purpose is radically altered. He spends the rest of his days preaching and teaching to the Gentiles of the Jesus he once loathed.
Paul rejects the power of sin over him, living into his new identity with total surrender.
“For I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
How many of us live beneath the truth and promise we are utterly new creations if we have truly surrendered to Christ’s transformation?
When we come to face our reflection, we do not often see ourselves as beloved daughters of the Most High God. Instead, we focus on all the areas where we do not measure up, desperately striving to be better.
One of the biggest implications of the truth that we are a new creation is that there is no room for shame in the presence of God. The Lord has redeemed us; all of our past, present, and future sins were fully and finally paid for on the cross by the sinless son of God. Hebrews 10:10 declares, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.” Not only were our sins forgiven on the cross, but all of the favor and merit of Jesus was placed upon us.
The reality of sin still exists and wreaks destruction in our lives and in our hearts. Yet as believers, we are not identified as sinners; rather, we are given the identity of saints and coheirs with Christ. These two realities can be held in tandem, that we are still inclined to turn our affections to directions other than the Lord, but the sin in our hearts does not have the final word on who we are.
We are instructed to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) and to keep “our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2) This is good news and there is freedom here! The Lord pursues us and is constantly welcoming us back to Himself, reminding us of His goodness and grace.
The Lord is gracious to show us our sin and to redirect our attention. I have experienced this process in my own life, year after year. The Lord has faithfully used mentors to beautifully model how to live in the reality that we still sin, yet are called saints and daughters. When I have brought sin struggles to some of the women in my life, they have met me with incredible grace, which I believe reflects the grace of God and has brought much healing to my life.
He has been so near on this journey, constantly refining me in the fire to look more like Jesus. I truly desire to walk in a way that honors Him, but I know even in my weakness He is glorified. (2 Corinthians 12:9) He beckons me to His heart, showing me His plans are higher than my own.
“Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!