I’ll never forget the time I took my future wife to meet my family. With a twinkle in their eyes, my two elder siblings asked her, “What exactly do you see in this guy?” She smiled and assured them that by God’s grace I had grown to be the man she loved.
I loved that clever reply because it also reflects how, in Christ, the Lord sees more than our past. In Acts 9, He directed Ananias to heal Saul, a known persecutor of the church whom God had blinded. Ananias was incredulous at receiving this mission, stating that Saul had been rounding up believers in Jesus for persecution and even execution. God told Ananias not to focus on who Saul had been but on who he had become: an evangelist who would bring the good news to all the known world, including to the gentiles (those who weren’t Jews) and to kings (v. 15). Ananias saw Saul the Pharisee and persecutor, but God saw Paul the apostle and evangelist.
We can sometimes view ourselves only as we have been—with all of our failures and shortcomings. But God sees us as new creations, not who we were but who we are in Jesus and who we’re becoming through the power of the Holy Spirit. O God, teach us to view ourselves and others in this way!
How can you begin to better view yourself and others in light of who you are in Christ today? How does it encourage you to know God isn’t through growing and refining you?
Paul’s conversion story is recorded three times in the book of Acts (9:1–19; 22:3–21; 26:9–29). He also testified to it in 1 Corinthians 15:9–10; Galatians 1:11–17; Philippians 3:4–6; and 1 Timothy 1:12–17. As a sworn enemy of Christ, Paul was ever grateful that God would still save him, considering himself the least qualified and the most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and grace (1 Timothy 1:13–14). God told Ananias that Paul was to be His “chosen instrument” to take the gospel to the gentiles (Acts 9:15). But Paul saw another reason that God used him: he was “a prime example of [God’s] great patience with even the worst sinners” (1 Timothy 1:16 NLT). God had us in mind when He saved Paul. If he, the worst of sinners, could be saved, then no one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and love.