Remember Peter, Paul and Mary? I’m not talking about the American folk group who sings about magic dragons and jet planes. I’m talking about Jesus’ mother, disciple, and arguably once greatest opponent. I believe as Christians, we are one of these three people. Most of us are Marys, followers of Jesus by virtue of growing up with the knowledge of Him. Many of us are Peters, those who found Jesus later in life after hearing His calling. And there are a few of us who are Pauls, people who would’ve laid down their lives to not be a Christian.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being a Mary or a Peter; in fact, it is a blessing to know Jesus as a child or to be called later in life (just look at Proverbs 22:6 and Romans 8:28). I just think that many of us lack what I believe set Pauls apart from the others: the unashamed, unshakable, unconditional faith. I won’t lie, there were times in my walk with God where I was embarrassed to talk about Him. There were times when I wondered where He was. And believe me, in my spiritual infancy, there were a lot of bargaining moments. While many of us have had life changing experiences with the Lord, there is nothing as lasting as a Road to Damascus encounter. An encounter so powerful, there is nothing that will convince you to go back to your old ways.
The reason they can stand firm in their faith, to put it simply: Pauls have nothing more to lose. They have already crucified their flesh. They had everything (in the world’s eyes), yet they gave it all up to have a relationship with Jesus. In Philippians 3:4-10, Paul said, “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day…a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things…I want to know Christ…yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings.”
If you are someone that has not had a Road to Damascus encounter, I hope that you can find someone who has. Having a Paul on your side can make all the difference in your spiritual life. They can be the friend to stand by you in your hard times, reminding you of who God is and what He has already done for you. They can rejoice with you, knowing what it means to find joy in all things. And lastly, they can suffer with you, as they have already crucified themselves and know there is nothing else in this life that is more worthy than Jesus.
Response: Spend some time thinking of the people in your life that have made a difference in your spiritual journey. How have they encouraged you through your difficult times? What wisdom have they imparted to you? My prayer is that whether or not you’ve experienced a Road to Damascus encounter, you can be a Paul in others’ lives.