Have you ever thought about something in your life you are doing wrong and you just want to change? It may be your bad temper, or aloofness, or even hatefulness. So someone comes up to you and says, “You do this wrong.” You say, “Ok I will change “right now!” You change right there. Time goes by and you catch yourself falling back into the way you were and before long you are worse than before in the lifestyle you are living. Frustrating!!
As we looked at the conversion of Saul yesterday in Acts 9:1-19 we see an immediate, strong confrontation with Jesus on the Damascus Road and the effect is amazing as Saul is changed by the life giving Savior who met him on that road. The scales fall from Saul’s eyes and he sees life, real life, for the first time and then he was baptized. In verses 19b – 22 we see the immediate effect this conversion had on his life. In 19b it says, “Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” Did you get that…..AT ONCE! Dr. Paul replaced Mr. Saul. You probably know the old story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is the story of a mild mannered doctor who concocted a formula to turn him into a raving monster. That monster would do evil things uncontrollably and as long as he was on the formula Mr. Hyde would appear in the man Dr. Jekyll. He couldn’t control Mr. Hyde once the formula kicked in and the evil would come out.
The opposite was true for Saul (Mr. Hyde). Saul was, to use the Biblical terms, “breathing out murderous threats against all who proclaimed the name of Jesus.” Saul was totally out of control with his evil hatred against those followed “The Way.” When he met Jesus he was turned in to Paul (Dr. Jekyll) and immediately took on the changed life of a follower of Jesus. As we see in verse 20 that he immediately started preaching Jesus….”in the synagogues!” What a turnaround of a man so much against Jesus to a man so much FOR Jesus. In fact, the believers were astonished at the change and said in verse 21b “Isn’t this the man who raised so much havoc n Jerusalem among those who call on this name?”
Saul didn’t take a “formula” for the change. Saul didn’t change himself. Saul didn’t do anything but respond and believe and Jesus did the changing! In the case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the formula wears off after awhile and then he goes back to normal. In the case of Saul, he was changed and never went back to his murderous lifestyle. Which just goes to show, when you truly meet Jesus you will change and you will not go back to what you were after a short time. You are changed for good.
What was your Mr. Hyde life like? What is your Dr. Jekyll life like now? Was there an immediate change when you met Jesus? Has that change been lasting, or have you reverted back to a life with no direction? We all still have to deal with a bunch of Mr. Hyde’s who should be more like Dr. Jekyll. I know that it is sometimes frustrating for believers who want to see God’s TRUTH and lasting change be the dominant lifestyle in the church. There is a church sign I see from time to time that says “Know Jesus, Know change… No change, no Jesus” That saying truly speaks to this very subject “a changed life.” Here is the effectual change that took place in Saul’s life. In verse 22 it says, “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.” Of course, the truth of God’s Word shows that Jesus is the Christ. The changed lives of His followers shows how immediate and real that change is when it happens. Time to give up the Mr. Hyde lifestyle and baffle those around us by the change that Christ has made in our lives. It will best be seen by lives that pursue righteousness and preach Jesus in our churches and in the world. Time to be Dr. Paul and grow more powerful every day. Pray God will change our ugly, evil self into a beautiful, Christ-centered follower of Jesus Christ!! Today’s blog really makes 2 Corinthians 5:17 even more relevant where it says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
The Pilgrimage continues….