The story of Saul’s conversion to become Paul is amazing. Paul, who is first introduced in Acts 7, was a devoutly religious Jew.. He followed all the rules. And he hated followers of Christ in accordance with his leadership. And he sought to destroy them. He raided homes looking for Christians to have imprisoned or killed. All of his friends, his people, they all thought just like him. In fact, he was their ringleader.
God encounters Jesus Christ, who has already died and ascended to Heaven, on the road to Damascus and is blinded. This is supernatural, but to me it’s actually not the most impressive part of this story. Saul is still blind and staying in Damascus, when the Holy Spirit speaks to Ananias. Ananias, who loves Jesus and hears clearly the voice of the Holy Spirit, but still candidly questions the instruction he is given. Ananias ultimately obeys and goes to see a man who previously wanted to have him killed. Ananias’ trust in the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that what he heard was from God and his obedience are incredible, but there’s something else about Saul’s conversion that impacted me the most.
After Saul’s vision is returned and he is born again as Paul, a follower of Jesus Christ, he boldly goes out and publicly declares his allegiance to Christ. In Acts 9:20, it says: “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” This man who, a week prior, was having believers of Jesus tortured, was already preaching in synagogues.
And here’s the part that makes me want to be just like Paul. His entire world hated Jesus Christ and Christians. All of his friends and family and colleagues, they shared his devotion to the law and wanted to eradicate these Christians. And suddenly, he becomes one of the people he hated and in the blink of an eye, his entire world is now against him. But he doesn’t try to hide his new beliefs. He doesn’t worry whether those people will still accept him or try not to offend them. He starts preaching days later!
I didn’t personally experience a radical conversion in my Christian walk. I was the daughter of a pastor and I just always knew Jesus. To the point where later in life I would question whether I was actually saved because I didn’t remember the first time I even said the prayer of salvation. My life took some interesting paths and I found myself with some interesting belief systems at various points in my young adulthood, but eventually found myself running back into the arms of Jesus.
But my world isn’t just full of other Christians. It’s full of a lot of amazing people whose belief system and thinking continued on the path where mine was heading in my young adulthood. The belief system I would probably have now without the prayers of my parents and my husband. I love Jesus and know that he is the only way to eternal life and I want every single person to know the same love and peace and joy that comes with being a child of God. But I also know how I would have once reacted to someone this intense about Jesus and the Bible. And that knowledge, i.e. fear, has kept me from “preaching in the synagogues.”
I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ this week. It’s not the first time I have done this in my Christian walk. But this time, it wasn’t because I was backslidden or felt guilty about something. This time it was because I knew that I needed a new level of boldness in me. It was because I know how much I love Jesus and I need a new level of strength to express that love to others. And I know that it might make some people uncomfortable. I realize that it could change people’s opinion of me. But I know that God will use this boldness for his glory and those that he is using me to reach will hear what he has for them.
This revelation was for me, but if you find yourself in a similar place, then it’s also for you. Let’s stop cowering behind the pride of what people may think of us and start shouting God’s love from every rooftop we can find!