Change You Can Believe

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. – Acts 9:1-9.

Is there anything or anyone that can really change someone’s life on a permanent basis? Is that possible? I have known many people, and you probably have too, who have made New Year Resolutions to turn over a new leaf and start living right who did not even keep the resolution for a day much less for a week or for the rest of their lives. I think I can probably include myself in that group along with the other failures. Because of that we are skeptical when hearing someone say that their life has changed, or we hear about someone whose life appears to have changed. We question, doubt, whether it is true and based on our own experience, we have reason to do so.

The amazing thing that we see in the Bible is that people really do change. Perhaps the most dramatic example is that of the apostle Paul. Saul as he was known then was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians there when Jesus in a brilliant light appeared to him in such a powerful way that he was blinded and fell to the ground. Saul did go to Damascus but because of his blindness, he was led there. Ananias prayed for Saul and after spending a few days with the disciples we see a shocking thing: “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?’ But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.” By the time of his first missionary journey Saul had become known as Paul (Acts 13:9). What changed Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle, evangelist, and missionary? Jesus. Jesus is the One who changed him.

Even with Jesus we have our doubts. We know people who have made public decisions in a church somewhere and the next day went out and committed some terrible crime. One of my former clients did that nearly beating his girlfriend to death. What is the difference in the decision made by that man and the one made by Saul? The difference is in the heart. It comes down to whether we are serious and in that moment of time truly repent, commit, and mean it when we invite Christ Jesus into our hearts and lives. Jesus is the only One who can truly change a hardened religious persecutor like Saul into an apostle. When Saul realized the truth that he had been wrong and that Jesus was actually God, at that point Saul wanted to change. We have to reach the same point as Saul did and that is that we really want to change. Then, in our heart of hearts we believe upon Jesus unto salvation (Romans 3:22). That is change that we can really believe.

(Since there are so many who after professing Christ as their Savior that have fallen how can you believe anyone when they say they have changed?)

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