And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
I was pretty naive when I first came to Christ. I was no child at that time, but there were certain concepts that I had trouble understanding. One of my common misconceptions was that each Christian I met had always been a Christian. I imagined they all grew up in good Christian homes attending Sunday school and serving their communities. The young man who led my first men’s small group in particular seemed like one of those people who had been always wholesome. A person with a pure spirit and a pure heart, he was as meek and mild as they came. When he began to tell me what his life looked like before Christ, I could not believe that God could take someone so evil and make him so righteous.
There are many people who love to watch home renovation shows. It excites them to see someone take a property that appears to have little value and no curb appeal, and turn it into someone’s dream home. Imagine how excited God gets when He can do the same thing to a human soul. Saul was a wretched man who persecuted the Church as his profession. He lived to kill. Then, he encountered God and had a complete change of heart. He went from being one of the greatest detractors of Christ to being one of his greatest cheerleaders. Imagine how shocked and surprised anyone would have been to have known Saul before his conversion and then to meet Paul afterward.
Man has many programs and systems designed to change people in one way or another. From our criminal justice system to our mental health system to behavioral and addiction sciences, we think we have cornered the market on transforming people. The problem is that none of those approaches tackles the heart as God can. When someone changes on the outside, we can attribute that to any number of influences. When someone has a true change on the inside, we know that the Lord has been at work. Father, thank You for your transformative power at work in each of your children.