Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (Romans 1:1 ESV)
I’ve spent a lot of time praying for God to use me like he used the Apostle Paul.
I’d go as far as saying the only person with a greater impact on the Church than Paul is Jesus himself.
^ This is obviously debatable!
But the point stands: Paul changed the face of history through his personal legacy and the thirteen New Testament letters he wrote. However, I think I’ve always skimmed over something very important about this man’s life.
The Secret of Paul’s Legacy
I hyper-focused on the miracles like the handkerchiefs and scarves supernaturally imbued with God’s healing power (Acts 19:11–12). Or on his endurance through suffering for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 11:23–29).
Healings and beatings that changed the world to God’s glory—that’s how I’d always viewed Paul. But I’d skipped over where this man came from.
Sure I remembered he used to be named Saul and persecuted Christians (Acts 8:1). But that was his old life, right? That was dead and buried in his past… After all, there are plenty of things in my own past I like to think of as dead and buried.
However, the story of Saul becoming Paul is what today’s verse reminds us of. And it is a linchpin if we’re going to walk in the power of the Spirit this man did (1 Corinthians 2:4).
You see, Jesus worked in Paul before he ever worked through him.
Paul met the Christ he persecuted on the road to Damascus—and in a blinding flash—his life changed forever (Acts 9). And we simply cannot overstate the importance of this moment.
One moment, he was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,” (Acts 9:1), and three days later he received a vision from Jesus that a man named Ananias would restore his sight (Acts 9:12).
Saul was transformed from persecutor to prophet. But he first had to encounter the gospel power of Jesus.
Today, my prayer isn’t first: “Lord use me like Paul!” It’s, “Lord change me like Saul!”
As the saying goes: Changed people change people.
Do you long for Christ’s power in you—or just through you?
Devotion by Jordan Loftis. He is editor of Short Daily Devotions and author of The Men With Bare Feet.