when many days had passed, the jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to saul. they were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. and when he had come to jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. but barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. so he went in and out among them at jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. and he spoke and disputed against the hellenists. but they were seeking to kill him. and when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to caesarea and sent him off to tarsus. [acts 9:23-30]
we see saul’s (paul’s) world turned quickly upside down. he went from being the hunter to being the hunted. from chasing to being chased. from the hateful to the hated. his friends became his enemies, and his enemies became his friends. his one mission was the gospel of Jesus Christ, the very thing he had tried to silence.
has Christ turned your world upside down like this? do you love the things you used to hate and hate the things you once loved? are friends turning away who reject the gospel in you? are you the outcast because of your faith? are you moving in and out among believers, stirring them up to love and good deeds? maybe this wasn’t an overnight change for you like saul. but do you see Christ changing you? are you giving up worldly passions and replacing them with passion for the gospel? are you loving out of your new identity in Christ? are you living out your new purpose in him?
our conversion probably won’t look exactly like saul’s. but God promises that we who are in Christ will not remain unchanged. we will be strengthened in our faith. we are being transformed into the same image (reflecting Christ’s glory) from one degree of glory to another. [2 cor 3:18]
in the presence of the Lord, today, your Creator, your Redeemer, Christ your Brother, Priest, and King, ask him to reveal your own heart to you. see if you are growing in faith, growing in the fruit of the Spirit, growing in passion and boldness for his glory. then look at Jesus. his love for you has no end. his faithfulness to you endures forever. his grace toward you is measureless. you are his. you are clean. you are sealed. forever.
see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are. the reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. and everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. [1 john 3:1-3]