Paul doesn’t run from his past. He owns it. He isn’t proud of it; in fact, in other places, he speaks of it as one who is ashamed of things he has done. Yet he still owns it, will still discuss it. We should follow suit. Because our words and actions affect others, we need to take responsibility for them.
Without bringing others into it, I’ve been around the block. My sins are too many to count and some of them are things that I never want dwell on again. But I’m willing to. If it’ll help someone get closer to Jesus, if it’ll help someone through a tough spot, if it will make things better even if it’s only a little, then I’m willing to talk about things I’ve done till the cows come home.
That’s the faith difference. That’s the difference that Jesus makes. Without that, my past would still convict me daily. Without Christ, I’d still be mired in my sins, afraid of being found out, anxious that the next shoe would drop and the house of cards that was my life would crash down. On my own, one sin inevitably would lead to another. Each new sin would be worse than the one before.
Instead, through knowing that the Savior of the world personally forgave me, each day is a new one. They’re all adventures. Some are dull adventures, and some adventures are too much for words, but they’re all adventures. Paul and I have that in common; so can you. After his conversion, he got the privilege of looking back on his life as a zealous Pharisee and see it had all been for nothing. All it had done was mire him deeper in sins that compounded each other. One more believer killed; one more church torn asunder; one more day in serving the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob by destroying these blasphemers.
Or so he thought. Or so Saul of Tarsus thought that until the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob introduced Himself as the God-Man, Jesus, and set Saul on a new adventure. A new journey of faith, mission, and adventure. In a miracle, Saul went from the chief inquisitor of the Jews to the Jesus freak, Paul, who became the new church’s greatest missionary.
That’s the faith difference.
What difference can faith in Jesus make in your life? He’s already done the hard work of atoning for your sins, assuming your guilt onto His shoulders, and providing everything you need. All that remains is for you to believe. What difference can it make to you today?
For further reading: Acts 26:4-5, 1 Corinthians 10:32, Galatians 1:14
Lord Jesus, faith in You makes all the difference in the world!
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