Student Devotional – Hannah Peavy
We meet Saul toward the end of Chapter 7 and start of Chapter 8. This is what we learn, he was savagely against Christians. He approved of Stephen’s execution and was present for it. He is guilty of persecuting the church, breaking into homes, and hauling Christians to jail.
Then, Saul shows up again in Acts Chapter 9. This time Saul meets Jesus, you can read about this experience in Acts 9:1-19. Up until this experience with Jesus, Saul has harassed and been totally against Jesus and his church. However, when Saul meets Jesus, everything changes, Saul’s life is transformed. He goes from being 100% opposed to Jesus, the spreading of the gospel and the growing church to announcing in temples that Jesus is the Son of God. Saul goes from attempting to bring down every Christian he could get his hands on to going out on mission and spreading the gospel to the ends of the known world at that time.
You might think, that this is insane. Can somebody’s life really be adjusted so drastically? So rapidly? When Jesus is at work through the power of the Holy Spirit the answer is yes. It’s yes for all who accept and trust in Jesus.
Think about this: Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Or seen an image of the Grand Canyon? If you have, you know about its staggering beauty and size. It’s so large, so gigantic, so vast that it’s hard to understand its actual size when you’re when you’re standing in one spot trying to look out over it. In a few different ways that makes me think about “the gorge” or “the space” or “the distance” between Saul and Jesus due to Saul’s sin (Is. 59:2). But then, when Jesus came to Saul and changed his life through the force of the Holy Spirit everything changed (Ps 103:12) – Saul’s live and the lives of those who witnessed his transformation and those who benefited from his missionary journeys.
What I want you to hear is that the same Holy Spirit that transformed Saul’s life when he met Jesus is the very Holy Spirit that changes lives and dwells in the world and with Christians who profess faith in Jesus Christ today. When you welcome God into your heart, this happens.
Your life might not feel as “radical” as Saul’s because you might still find yourself living in the same place or participating and doing some of the same things you did before but it’s no less important. Just like the Holy Spirit empowered Saul to be a missionary who spread the gospel all through the known world. The Holy Spirit enables us to live differently in places he calls us. This could resemble – carrying for a neighbor who could use some assistance, being a witness on your sports team, showing your siblings forgiveness, reading scripture, or praying with a small group of friends. Jesus is always working in the lives of his people through the Holy Spirit.