Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 20, 2016
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:16
Some Christians have a sudden conversion to Christ. One moment they are on a road paved by priorities of their own devices and in an instance they see and hear Jesus for the first time. They may have known about Him as a historical figure or Bible character, but now they know Him. Suddenly—they are saved. No more a slave to sin—they are free to grow their faith in Christ, but their growth in grace is gradual. It takes time to understand and apply the truth of God—and to experience His mercy and love. Like a child takes on the traits of their parents, so a growing Christian is transformed by the character of Christ. Saved in a second—matured over a lifetime.
Saul, on the road to Damascus, experienced perhaps the most famous sudden conversion to Christ. For some people like Saul (whom God renamed Paul), an instant work of grace is how the Lord gets their attention. Without a crisis—like a health issue or a financial failure—some people stay asleep in their unbelief. So in a moment Saul went from hunting down Christians and having them stoned to death—to seeking out a Christian named Ananias to be healed from his affliction: blindness of eyes and soul. For Paul, immediately his old life (even his former name) vanished and he was swept away by His Savior Jesus. But the sincerity of his salvation took time to prove.
“At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests” (Acts 9:20-21)?
Are you grateful for God’s patient work of grace in your life? Your conversion to Christ is a trophy of grace that exhibits the long-suffering of the Lord to lovingly wait for just the right time for you to make things right with Him. In your heart and mind you must acknowledge, “if Jesus can save me, He can save anybody.” Never ever, ever get over the amazing truth of how the Lord took your lost life and placed you on a path of peace, joy and ministry to others. Your story is a testament to the power of God to profoundly change you into the likeness of His Son.
Don’t underestimate who might be watching you as an example of what it means to love and follow the Lord. Your conversion to Christ may have been viewed skeptically by some in the beginning, but as the years have passed wisdom has proven itself to be real in your life. The compounded interest of your integrity is a magnanimous stewardship opportunity to point people to your Savior Jesus Christ. Just like a skilled seamstress looks for a proven pattern to perfect her art, so other followers of Jesus look to you as a model of faithfulness. So by grace, ever celebrate your humble beginnings with Christ and be a responsible Christian who helps others find Him.
“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother
Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17).
PrayerHeavenly Father, thank you for saving me, allowing me to see and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
ApplicationWho is watching me be a Christ follower? A friend, a spouse, a child, a family member, a neighbor or a co-worker?
Related ReadingDaniel 10:7; Isaiah 6:8; John 9:25; Acts 16:9-10; 1Corinthians 15:8
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