June 20 I Monday
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” —John 20:31
Our life is defined by events, such as getting our driver’s license or having our first child, but sometimes, an extraordinary event could happen that forever changes our trajectory, purpose and meaning. For Paul, previously known as Saul of Tarsus, his life was completely altered when he was on the road to Damascus.
Saul was an archenemy of the church of Jesus Christ, intent on doing everything he could to eliminate what he regarded as a false movement. He was on his way to Damascus with authority to arrest, imprison and even kill Christians in that city. Along the way, a bright light suddenly shone from heaven. Falling to the ground, Saul heard a voice calling him by name, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” To which Saul asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:1-5). Jesus then instructed Saul to go to Damascus, where he would be told what to do next.
Jesus’s plan involved Saul getting into trouble with authorities, being a witness of Christ amongst rulers and Gentiles, and being persecuted because of it. At the moment when Saul bowed his knees, his life was never the same again. Paul discovered two things that day on the road. The first was that Jesus Christ is alive and the second was that only Jesus could transform his life.
As Paul reflected later on his life’s purpose and meaning, he told the church in Philippi, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). His phrase begins with “for to me” to point to the fact that the Christian life is personal.
Each Christian begins their Christian life individually. No one becomes a Christian by inheriting something from their parents or by hanging around other Christians. Like in marriage, we do not get married just because we hang around the opposite gender. Marriage happens when we make a personal vow of commitment to our spouse, just as becoming a Christian involves a deliberate, willful response to God at some point in our life. At that moment, our relationship with and status before God changes.
There has to come a moment in our lives, as there was in Paul’s life, when the Christian life becomes personal. We may be religious, have grown up in a Christian home, and be God fearing, but the true Christian life experience begins when we say, “I will,” and make a personal surrender to God who is alive and willing to accomplish His business through us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I will surrender to You. Thank You that You want to have a personal relationship with me. Use me, Lord, to share this life-changing truth with others.