“Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think. It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving. Where there is grafting there will always be a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back or there will be no sap from root to branch. And this, I say, must be done by a wound, by a cut.”
~ John Bunyan
Saul was just another person who thought Christianity was an aberration. However, Saul had the courage of his convictions. He was not going to sit around merely thinking that Christianity was wrong and a danger to his people, he was willing to do something about it. That was why he received permission from the Roman leaders to seek out as many Christians as possible so that they could be arrested and, if necessary, be put to death. He was not going to let his faith, his church, and his life be ruined by what he considered to be fanatics.
Can you imagine the emotional and spiritual pain that Saul must have undergone to realize all he thought was actually wrong? That Christianity was not a threat? That Christianity was actually “The Way”?
Saul was still Saul. He still had the same good heart, he still had the same passion, he still had the same drive. However, something was “grafted” into him: Christ Jesus.
Because of that, Saul became a new person. To reflect the new person, he took on a new name: Paul. Just as fearless as Saul was against Christianity, Paul became a fearless proponent for Christianity. Just as willing as Saul was to put Christians to death, Paul would become willing to be put to death for the name of his Lord and God.
Conversion is never easy. It is always difficult and often quite painful. When the Lord comes into our lives, a great conflict ensues. Sin, darkness, and death do their best to keep their clutches on us and it is painful to let all of that go. But let it go, we must.
Thank God for the grace and gift of His Spirit. Let the light of the Risen Lord purge the darkness of sin in your lives this day!
FAITH ACTION: As you make time to pray today, ask God to show you what more you must do to draw closer to Him.