Have you ever seen someone you went to high school with and thought, “Wow! They are so much more different than I remember in high school!” I find myself doing this all the time. Especially around the holidays. I will run into an old classmate who was a goofball or a slack off and now they are a freaking doctor or something. What!?
It is amazing to see the transformation of someone you once knew. Time will change people, for better or for worse. There are periods of immense growth in each persons life. Everyone has them at different times. For some it is at a younger age, but for many it is after high school when you are thrown into “the real world.”
This story of Paul has really encouraged me in a couple ways. The first way I am encouraged is by this thought; we are never too far from God to where we can’t be in a relationship with Him. Jesus wants a relationship with you. He doesn’t care where you are or what you’ve done. All He cares about is you recognizing what He did for you and how much He loves you! I mean look at Paul. This man was literally bashing the name of Jesus and now here he is one of the most influential followers of Jesus. What?!
The second way I am encouraged by this story is by this thought; Others are never too far from God to where He can’t use them. I am so guilty of this. Seeing someone and thinking, “Man.. they are hopeless. There is no way they could possibly change.” Well yeah with that mindset I am definitely not going to be the one changing them. God wants to use those people who are far from Him. He wants to remind everyone, through these people, that no one is too lost or broken for Jesus.
What would happen if we shifted our perspective? Instead of seeing people who are easy to help, we begin to look for people who are tough to help. People who maybe push back at first. People who seem like they have run out of hope. People no one gives a second thought to. People like you.. and me… I know I have had moments where I have lost hope. I have had moments where I felt lonely, unloved, and lost. I can look back and see a person who helped me through that. Be that person for someone else.
Think of someone in your own life. At work, at school, in your friend group; find that person who seems too far gone and just love them. Begin to share your heart and open up to them. This kind of vulnerability can break down walls and really begin to change someone. Be the change you want to see in the world.
Who has God put on your heart after reading this?
How can you begin to love this person?
How can you take one step closer to Jesus today?
Dear Lord, thank you for the peace you give us through Your son Jesus. I pray that you gives us the eyes to see those who are lost. I also pray you give us the courage and wisdom to love those people well. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your amazing plan. We love you. Amen.