Before I met Jesus, I’d been wounded so deeply that I avoided close relationships in fear of being hurt more. My mom remained my closest friend, until I married Alan. Seven years later and on the verge of divorce, I toted our kindergartner, Xavier, into a church service. I sat near the exit door, afraid to trust but desperate for help.
Thankfully, believers reached out, prayed for our family, and taught me how to nurture a relationship with God through prayer and Bible reading. Over time, the love of Christ and His followers changed me.
Two years after that first church service, Alan, Xavier, and I asked to be baptized. Sometime later, during one of our weekly conversations, my mom said, “You’re different. Tell me more about Jesus.” A few months passed and she too accepted Christ as her Savior.
Jesus transforms lives . . . lives like Saul’s, one of the most feared persecutors of the church until his encounter with Christ (Acts 9:1–5). Others helped Saul learn more about Jesus (vv. 17–19). His drastic transformation added to the credibility of his Spirit-empowered teaching (vv. 20–22).
Our first personal encounter with Jesus may not be as dramatic as Saul’s. Our life transformation may not be as quick or drastic. Still, as people notice how Christ’s love is changing us over time, we’ll have opportunities to tell others what He did for us.
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Saul (also known as Paul, Acts 13:9), first appears on the pages of Scripture in Acts 7:58–8:3 as a “young man” affirming Stephen’s execution. He harassed the church and dragged Christians off to prison (8:3). Final glimpses of Paul are quite different. In Philemon 1:9 Paul described himself as an “old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus,” and in 2 Timothy 4:6–8 he spoke of his Christ-filled life as an offering to God.