Saturday, May 2, 2015
THE SAUL-OF-TARSUS EFFECT --by LInden Malki
We all know, or know of, people who seem to be immune to God.
Some of them grew up in church-going families; some of them think of themselves as Christian, but God doesn't seem to have anything to do with their daily lives.
Some of them are angry or disappointed with God, who didn't follow their instructions.
Some of them see God as irrelevant and unnecessary.
Charles Colson was too busy with presidential politics to have time for God, until the Watergate scandal put him in jail. C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, and David Limbaugh are men of our times who had ignored (or dismissed) God until He Himself and His Spirit moved in their lives. With God, they have become effective ambassadors to our culture. There are many more people who have come to a relationships with God after having ignored and disbelieved for many years. God can deal with that, if we give Him the chance.
Most "religions" in our world are a reaching out for God (or "gods"). In each of the cases I just mentioned, it was more like baby steps on the part of the individual, but God came to THEM and changed their lives. He also sent other followers to them to support and encourage and teach and disciple them.
Saul of Tarsus was raised in an observant Jewish family in a Greek city. He was sent to Jerusalem for his education, and became well-known as a brilliant religious scholar. He bragged of knowing the ancient law better than most men, and following it to the letter. He was sure that the things he heard about a dead rabbi named Jeshua were an affront to God and he took upon himself the task of closing down this movement. But God, who knew his heart better than he did, came to Saul, knocked him off his horse and his former life. He sent people into his life who could supply the pieces he needed to put it all together into a totally new life, and eventually a renewed empire.
Our job is not to change people. Anything we can do is pretty superficial, anyway. The change will come from God's end. We can help open the doors, but it is God who comes through those doors and makes a new creation.