September 1, 2014
I Am What I Am, But I’m Not Who I Was
“By the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV)
Friend to Friend
There are many powerful stories of physical healing in the New Testament, but some of the most powerful testimonies are of the healing of an infected soul. Such was the case with Paul. He was a man with a past, and was not ashamed to tell it. Several times when he spoke or preached to the multitudes, he began by sharing his personal story. While speaking in Jerusalem, Paul began by revealing his past. He said:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished” (Acts 22:3-5).
Paul admitted that he had committed atrocities against Jesus Christ and those who called themselves Christians. He was a murderer. But then he continued:
"About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, `Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?'
" `Who are you, Lord?' I asked.
" `I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
" `What shall I do, Lord?' I asked.
" `Get up,' the Lord said, `and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do'” (Acts 22:6-10).
Paul began by telling who he was and what he had done, and then told of the amazing transformation that occurred in him the moment he believed. He didn’t sugarcoat his past or try to justify his actions. He simply said, “This is who I was. I met Jesus face to face, and this is who I am now.”
What a great example for us. It’s not difficult to share our personal stories of redemption. We don’t have to be a polished speaker and say all the right words. We simply tell the story of how we came to know Jesus and what He has done in our lives. It’s simple.
“This is who I was. I met Jesus face to face, and this is who I am now.”
Can you do that in two sentences? That’s my challenge for you today. Click over to my Facebook pageand tell me your story in two sentences.
I’ll go first:
I grew up in a difficult home of alcohol and violence—lost, afraid, and inordinately insecure. Then I met Jesus through a woman in my neighborhood, and He healed my broken heart, gave me the promise of heaven, and set me on the path to the abundant life here on earth. (For someone who loves words, that was harder than I thought it would be. But go ahead and give it a try!)
Dear LORD, I am so grateful that I am not who I was. Thank You for meeting me on the road of life and calling me to Yourself. I love You, Jesus. I long to love You even more.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Go back and read about Paul’s encounter with Jesus in Acts 22.
Did you ever wonder why Paul’s companions couldn’t understand what Jesus was saying?
Have you ever felt that God was speaking directly to you through a sermon, devotion, or Scripture?
Will you join me with a shout-out of Today’s Truth? If so, click over to my Facebookpage and say, “By the grace of God I am what I am!”
More From the Girlfriends
There is so much power in your story! If you would like to learn more about how to turn your pain into purpose, your messes into your message, and your hurt into hope, check out my book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past.True freedom comes when you use what you have gone through to minister to someone else. Also, if you have a wound that is yet to heal and become a scar, this resource will help you in that area as well.
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070
Originally published Monday, 01 September 2014.