Tuesday, July 25 – Acts 26:9-11
“So I thought to myself that I had to act in strong opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, after receiving authority from the chief priests, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being put to death. And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was extremely enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.”
Are there parts of your testimony or former way of life you are ashamed of? Too often, we shrink back from our lives before Christ. We don’t want to let people know about the sin struggles that ensnared us, whether we were raised in the church or had a long life away from God. We often feel afraid of what people might think or concerned that it may affect our witness. Paul certainly did not have an easy past. He was a direct participant in persecution, violence, and pride, yet this was still something he shared. In 1 Timothy 1:13-15 Paul gave some insight into why he included the difficult parts of his testimony when he, referring to himself, said, “I was previously a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost.”
Sharing even the difficult, shameful parts of his testimony gave Paul the opportunity to make much of God’s grace instead of much of himself and his accomplishments. When we only share the things we do for God instead of our need for Him, we preach a message about ourselves. Our testimony starts with our sin, our separation from God, and our need for a savior. Only when we start with our deep need for Him can we effectively share what He has done in our lives.
- What are some of the sin patterns you lived in before Christ?
- How do these reveal God’s grace in your life today?
- Pray and thank God for being your Redeemer and Savior who has raised you from death in your sin.