“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”
See Acts 9:5
Do you hate Jesus? I’m sure you don’t, but some people actually do hate Jesus. This is why we must remember: Jesus recruits from His opposition.
What most new Christians don’t know is that Paul used to hate Jesus with all his might! And he is the one who wrote most of the New Testament! Paul was a bounty hunter of Christians—he hated them, passionately. He actually oversaw and approved of the very first Christian being murdered for their faith, Stephen (see Acts 6).
So what happened to Paul? What made him go from the dark-side to the light-side? What was it, exactly, that changed His entire heart condition and mindset?…Jesus paid him a personal visit. After that, everything changed, even his name—he went from Saul to Paul.
Although Jesus mostly speaks to people’s hearts, Paul got knocked over and then blinded for days, by Christ Himself! As usual, he was on his way to persecute more people of this new sect called Christianity; you know, those weird people who worship some Jew who died and supposedly came back from the dead? That one. Paul was a Jew, but he surely didn’t believe in this “Messiah.”
He was going to make sure he destroyed these people! His hate for them consumed his life! Cleansing the earth from these Christians had become his #1 goal!
So he and his crew were on their way to Damascus to blot out those who “love” their enemies and “forgive” everyone—however, Jesus personally interrupted his trip! “I will use this man as my chosen instrument to proclaim my name, I will show him how much he must suffer to do so” (see Acts 9:15-16).
Jesus recruited His own worst enemy for the gospel! The top dog, best hater of Christ decided to make a big change, and nobody even recognized him any longer. The Pharisees, his own people, now hated him and wanted him dead! And on the other side, the disciples, they were scared of him! They thought he was pulling a fast one on them as Paul approached the group, but his conversion was real!
After Paul met Jesus, the rest was history. Most of the verses you now read in the Bible to build up your faith, were written by a man who tried vigorously to tear down your faith. Paul’s heart was changed—because he got a new one (see Romans 6:6)—and so did his mindset, as that new heart began to guide Him (see Romans 12:2). As for his body, it also began to feel what it’s like to be possessed by Christ (see 1 Corinthians 6:19, Galatians 2:20, 5:22-23). He began to use the very same passion that he had to destroy Jesus’ message, to now spread it!
Is Jesus calling your name? Is He constantly pulling at your heart? Yes, He is. He is everywhere. All of this stuff, this world, this creation, is His. He is holding all of it together! (See Colossians 1:17). He is like gravity, He has an effect on absolutely everything you see!
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or who you are, He can still use you if you let Him. Paul proved that Jesus wants to use everyone for His Kingdom purposes!
He’s not waiting for you to shape up first, He’s simply asking for your faith. After that, then your life changes organically into what He wants it to be! He’s asking you to join Him in changing the course of all of humanity, forever! Join Him! Join Him, today!
A prayer for today: Jesus, thank you for calling my name. Thank you for relentlessly pursuing me. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for showing me that nothing can separate your love from me. Thank you for teaching me about your unconditional love, mercy, and grace. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those you are calling to do some seriously good things THROUGH you—which is all of us—let them know it’s you! Give them a peek into what you have planned, and help them MOVE FORWARD! In your name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!