The apostle Paul, before his conversion and name change was known as Saul. Saul was a very well educated man on the fast tract to the High Priesthood. Sort of like going to Harvard undergrad with a Stanford MBA. But Saul, as he persecuted the early Christian church squandered his talent and intellectual prowess for a reputation of violence and destruction. He found himself defined by what he was against instead of what he was for. He was full of potential but used it for destructive purposes and his own gain.
We should not be too critical of Saul however, since it’s easy for all us to want be a big man on the campus when people are watching. We may want to impress other women with our cloths, job or address, but when we’re alone with ourselves, perhaps awake at 4:00 AM, then the praise of our peers fades away. Authentic thoughts about our lives come lurking around. Our souls are heavy, and we begin to reflect.
In this silent wilderness our thoughts turn to the true quality of our lives and the talents and opportunities we’ve squandered. We remember the birthdays missed and the anniversaries forgotten. As we penetrate the darkness of our souls, we conclude that our lives up to this point have been wasted and full of mistakes. We know in our hearts that we are not as great as the image we show to others. Uncovering this truth about us is the first step toward real transformation in our lives.
When we reach this point, our hearts know: We need a center other than ourselves. We hunger for someone to forgive us, to comfort us, and to assure us that a new beginning is possible. We look up at the stars and discern with confidence that there is a God behind them all. In the greatness of creation, God reveals His greatness to our inner being. We realize, perhaps for the first time, that we are small in contrast. We may also recognize that God is out there for us, if we want to meet Him.
We are ripe for a turnaround, for a conversion. Is it time to place Jesus at the center of our lives?