Who can forget The Apostle Paul’s story. He spiritually represents in some ways all of us at one point in our walk with God. Where in our own eyes we are doing what we think is right, but God is truly not being glorified. Then on the road to Demascus, he gets knocked off “his high horse” so to speak and God finally has the chance to correct both his thinking and theology. This spiritual encounter changed Paul’s life forever and similarly our own personal encounter with Christ altered the trajectory of our faith walk.
For Paul, killing Christians was committed as an act honoring God. Though he was out to bring an end to the early Christian movement, it was motivated by reverence for the law. We can become so immersed in religious traditions that we miss the actual spiritual move of God when He causes a shift. If we are disconnected in the spirit we’ll act out of former understanding and not the “right now” word of God.
Here are some life lessons we can lean from The Apostle Paul’s spiritual conversion.
Head Knowledge can Hinder Kingdom Understanding
The Apostle Paul was well versed in the Hebraic law and believed that righteousness was attained in meticulously keeping it. He put his confidence in the flesh and therefore was blocked from exercising true faith. He warns the Church against such deception saying, “If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee, as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness which in the Law, found blameless,” (Philippians 3:5). Knowledge apart from faith is just information and facts. God desires that we surrender to the spiritual realm which may not always be explained logically.
Spiritual Maturity Flourishes in Secret
Paul spent alone time with God between the time of his conversion and launching his ministry. Stealing away to the secret place in order to be with God helps to fortify us both spiritually and mentally. It is here we not only learn humility, but also reverential submission. Jesus Christ modeled this same pattern when he spent 40 days in the wilderness. Unplugging from the world helps elevate our sensitivity to the willful voice of God. Both Jesus Christ and Paul teach us to make a habit of frequenting the secret place. Let’s remember to do this as often as we can!
God Corrects Our Zeal and Then Uses It
Even though Paul was in error when he violently came against the early Christian church, it is undeniable that he was on fire to defend the honor of God’s law. He was dedicated and fierce toward this cause. The Lord did not turn him into a docile, gentle soul once he became a Christian…oh no. God used this same attitude in him to spread The Gospel and Kingdom message to others. God saves us and then sanctifies us for His name’s glory. Don’t think you need to overhaul your unique personality to serve God. He will divinely enhance those existing qualities.
Sometimes Sight is Removed in Order to Really See
Stripped of his sight for three days, Paul was completely faced with himself. He wrestled with the reality of the lives that were taken as a result of his command. The physical blindness he endured was descriptive of the spiritual blindness that ruled his life. Sometimes, we can’t see what God is doing in the midst of our circumstances because we’re stunted by what’s in front of us. This process can, at times, be painful as God is correcting our thinking and shifting our paradigm. It never feels good to break out of comfortable ideas that we’ve held on to and that helped shape who we are. Just like God had to break this off of the Apostle Paul, He does so similarly with us.
When God Moves, so Should We
God is Sovereign, so when He adjusts we should follow His lead. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to follow the Ark of the Covenant (representing God’s presence), but not to follow too closely. This was to prevent them from getting ahead of God and not being able to see the direction He was actually going. If we think we have reached a point in our spiritual life that gives us a sense of “spiritual superiority,” we can miss a powerful move of God due to our own stubborn self-righteousness. Being a follower of Christ is a constant submission of the will to magnify one higher than our own.
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