Do you ever think about who the Apostle Paul used to be before he met Jesus?
His name was Saul.
This man Saul was not just any man, but was a man zealous in his desire to serve God. However he was nothing more than an instrument in the hand of the enemy. He sought to tear down, destroy, and kill what would bring glory to God, but all in the name of serving God. He was an obstacle to truth, not a protector of it…..UNTIL…..one day, as Saul was breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, his life was forever altered. In his flesh, he was preparing to go to Damascus to find any who were following ‘the Way’ and bring them bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9: 1-2). Saul was going to clean up the mess that was brewing because of the disciples of Jesus if it was the last thing he did!
Well, what do you know……Saul met Jesus on the road that was, in his mind, the road that would stop others from declaring the same.
What I’d like to share today isn’t the fantastic story that follows, but to point out something so subtle that I never recognized it before.The most wicked persecutor of the gospel of Jesus Christ was suddenly changed into the most passionate witness that has ever walked the face of the earth. But do you know what, despite the most drastic change anyone could ever experience, God didn’t change his name very much at all. He didn’t become Herbert, or Gregory, or Lawrence, or Phillip…you get the idea. God in His great wisdom and sovereignty changed only the first sound of his name. He removed the ‘S’ and replaced it with a ‘P’. That’s all. Just one letter changed.
What’s the big deal? Well, for all of us, a name represents who we are. Saul was a wretched sinner who thought he was a mighty force for God. When he became Paul, he saw what a wretched sinner he really was; ironic isn’t it? But through the grace of God and his love for Jesus, Paul lived for the glory of God, with every sin covered in forgiveness by the blood of the Lamb.
Could it be, just maybe, that God made him into a ‘Paul’ so that he’d never forget who he was? That his name would purposely remind him of the Saul that God saved him from?
In order for any of us to be of use to the Lord, we must be humble; we must see how truly unworthy and wretched we really are. Although it isn’t pleasant, it is very necessary. To forget the depth of the sin we possess is to lose the amazement of His incomprehensible grace in our lives.
For Today: Just like Paul, may we never forget who we used to be as we daily live to be who we are in Him.