In this passage, Paul acknowledges the privilege into which he was born – born into the right faith, raised and educated in the right way that would have led to a predictable, secure future. But then he had his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and his eyes were opened. Preserving his place, his power, and his security had come at a very high cost to the followers of Jesus he was seeking to stomp out.
When Jesus held the mirror up to Paul’s thoughts and behavior, he could no longer justify his actions nor continue to participate in a system that perpetuated inequity by eliminating any perceived threats to that system. Because of his encounter with Jesus, Paul was transformed from the inside out, leaving all the trappings of a charmed life behind to join the followers of Jesus’ way. All the energy he had devoted to maintaining the status quo was now directed towards spreading the Gospel message of radical love, inclusion, sacrifice, and mercy.
Can you think of a time when your faith in Jesus demanded a significant sacrifice in your life? In what ways does your faith impact the way you live, work, and move about in the world?
Today, reflect on the gifts of your upbringing and commit yourself to using these gifts for the benefit of God’s kingdom.