Most politicians these days make some sort of promises about how they are going to change the nation for the better. President Obama’s theme as he ran for office was “Change You Can Believe In.” President Trump’s was “Make America Great Again.” Depending on who you talk to, you will get differing opinions as to whether those promises resulted or are resulting in positive change or negative.
There is one source of change that you can always count on being good – that which comes when a person encounters Jesus Christ in a life changing way. One of my Biblical heroes is the Apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul). He encountered Jesus while traveling down a dirt road heading for Damascus, and it definitely was a life changing event!
Paul, of course, was a Jew, but more than that, he was a Jew among Jews . . . a Pharisee. He had studied under one of the foremost Jewish teachers, Gamaliel. His position was renown as he had advanced far beyond the other young men in this spiritual/political leadership body. He was even placed in charge of the attempt to silence the new religious sect known as Christians. And take to his responsibilities he did, his zeal leading him to preside over the torture and deaths of many who stood accused of being a part of what was known as “the Way.”
Hardly a likely candidate for conversion to faith in Jesus Christ! And yet, God had a different path laid out for Paul. There on that remote roadway Paul was blinded by the brightness of the ascended Lord, and the archenemy of Christianity was born again . . . given a new life through the One he had sought to silence. Now his mission wasn’t the destruction of “the Way” but to spread the message of “the Way” to the non-Jews of the world.
Paul wasn’t rushed into his ministry among the Gentiles, but was led by God’s Spirit to spend a period of three years preparing his heart and mind for the task that lay ahead. He withdrew to Arabia in order to think through his experience with Jesus on the Damascus Road, to rethink his understanding of the Scriptures he had at that time (the Old Testament), and to receive from God a revelation of what the Gospel meant to him and to the entire world. When Paul returned from Arabia he knew the will of God for his life, and he had a message to preach.
Not everyone’s experience with Jesus Christ will be as dramatic as Paul’s, but each person who encounters the Lord Jesus will not go away unchanged. There is only one salvation experience, but each day can be a fresh and new encounter with the Lord which results in change. Perhaps it is a small and subtle change, but there is a change . . . a change in attitude, a change in perception, a change in understanding, a change in direction.
The jury is still out on the change promised by the politicians, but 2000+ years of experience points to the fact that Jesus Christ truly is change you can believe in, and He can make you great for His Kingdom’s cause!