Paul: A Life Transformed
I had the opportunity to preach at a church recently and was asked to speak on the topic of the apostle Paul’s journey with Jesus. Paul’s life is such a great example of the power that experiences have in bringing change and growth in our lives. We get a front row seat as he goes from a man consumed by fear and rage toward this new “sect” known as Christians, then to a man who was willing to die to build Jesus’ kingdom.
In Acts 28, Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah in describing what he sees in the Jewish leaders that continue to condemn and persecute him:
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.’
Not only did this description fit those that persecuted Paul, but also Paul in his “former” life before he met the Lord. Paul was the one with a hard heart, closed eyes and ears that were hard of hearing.
For Paul, it would take a series of experiences to transform his heart, mind, and spirit. Consider what we get to see from the front row of scripture:
- Paul’s dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus
- Seeing the work of the Spirit through signs and wonders; He saw others perform miracles and, by the power of the Spirit, performed them himself
- Paul sees the kingdom being built from Asia Minor through central Europe (without a car or a cell phone!)
- Experiences the Lord’s providence again and again
The product of those experiences, coupled with his deep knowledge of the Scriptures, was a man who taught about grace like no one had before – a man who would build the kingdom like no one before. Ultimately, he became the man that said (in Acts 20:24), “…my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
What an incredible journey, and what a testimony to what can happen when we journey with the Lord and experience Him in our lives.
About the Author:
Jeff Franks is the founder and director of Being Formed Resources, which provides experientially-based spiritual formation resources, pastoral counseling, and small group ministry. He also trains people to lead formational prayer at Ashland Theological Seminary. He spent 15 years serving the church in full-time ministry before starting Being Formed. He resides in Wooster with his wife Kelly and three daughters.