If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Bright blue eyes? Curly hair? More height? Less weight? The ability to post your brother in a game of one-on-one? Take a couple of minutes to think about it, then when everyone has an answer, go around and share. What are the chances that this change might actually take place in your life?
We’re starting a new sermon series this week, centered around Paul and several relationships he had with others. We’re reading about his first relational encounter this week. Have someone share Acts 9 from the Bible.
Ok, so Saul had some serious flaws in his character. It could be he always longed to be taller or maybe he had a crooked nose that he wished were straight. But nothing in his life could have been as bad as his heart. He was a Jesus-hater! Saul was repulsed by anything that had to do with the supposed Messiah. In fact, he was so obsessed with his loathing that he made it his personal mission to take down anyone who claimed to follow the Nazarene. I bet just about everyone he met figured there was 0% chance that he would ever change.
Then Saul met Jesus.
It’s amazing how that one encounter, beginning that one relationship can change things so dramatically. We get to watch Saul become a totally different person because of this meeting. In fact, he changed so much, Jesus changed his name too. Where Saul was a Jesus-hater, Paul was a Jesus-sharer. This run-in with Christ totally turned his life upside-down. Instead of focusing on the anger and hated he had for others, Paul became consumed with what he wanted to share with people: the love and hope Jesus has for each of us.
That same hope is available to everyone. Most of us have some things about ourselves we wished were different, and some of those things are pretty deep in our hearts. No matter what you’re longing for today, know that Jesus holds the hope of your future. Joy, love, peace, contentment—they are all realities when we live in relationship with the Savior. If He can change Saul, He can transform all of us.
Dear Jesus, thank You for loving Saul, for loving him so much that You changed his whole life. I know that You love me just as much, which means I can be changed just as much. Fill me with Your hope for my future, Jesus. In Your Name we pray. Amen
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