READ: Acts 9:1-19; 22:1-22; 26:12-23
- Acts 9:1 captures the essence of Paul’s heart toward Jesus and the church. He was “breathing threats and murder” against believers. Paul summarizes his attitude in 1 Timothy 1:12-15. In hindsight, he realized just how hard his heart was toward Jesus and the gospel. Interestingly, he wasn’t hardened toward God. He was a devout believer. His rage against the church was actually because he loved God.
- Meeting the resurrected Jesus broke through the hardness. When he realized that persecuting Christians was the same as persecuting Christ and when he saw that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah of promise, he came around. Not all hearts remain hard. It just takes the right combination of events and words to bring reality to the surface.
- We live in a world where lots of people have rejected the story of God, because they’ve been disappointed by Christians. But they are not hardened toward God Himself. What we need is a group of healthy believers modeling what life with God does to a person. When the hardened see the power of God to change lives, they often come around to see the value of the gospel for themselves. Nothing is more powerful than the testimony of changed life.
- Describe a time when your heart was hard toward God.
- What softened it?
- Who do you know that needs to see the changes in someone in order to have their own heart softened?
PRAY: Pray for the power of your witness to others. Ask God to help you have courage to live boldly for Him. Pray for those who are in need of Jesus who are also watching you.