By Brooke Holt
“For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.” (Galatians 1:11-13)
Have you ever personally witnessed a life transformed by Jesus Christ? The apostle Paul was a walking miracle! He went from being the most zealous persecutor of the church to the church’s most zealous evangelist. What can bring about such a radical transformation? Only the work of the Holy Spirit.
I have been blessed to see a life radically transformed before my very eyes. I attended a conference many years ago that divided us into prayer groups. In my group was Diane, a young mother estranged from her husband and currently living with her mother. Diane’s mother insisted she attend this conference, and Diane was clear that was the only reason she was with us. As our leader prayed for Diane, I watched her entire disposition change. She moved from being angry, rigid, and totally resistant to broken, restored, and at peace. Diane was a miracle of the Lord right before my eyes. You can just imagine our delight in baptizing Diane’s daughter at the end of the weekend.
Divine transformation is the greatest testimony to the power and work of the Lord. Paul reminds the Galatians of his former life in Judaism; there were none as zealous for the Lord nor for the persecution of the church. The Lord transformed that zeal in Paul’s divine encounter on the road to Damascus. Paul’s conversion did not come as the Galatians' had. Instead, Paul encountered the risen Christ (see Acts 9:1-9). The gospel came alive to Paul as Jesus revealed himself and his plan of salvation to Paul. No longer would Paul persecute the church; Paul would become the persecuted.
Paul endured the persecution because the gospel message of Jesus radically transformed Paul’s life. Paul will plead with these believers in Galatia to return to this transformative gospel and not be led astray by those who would preach a different salvation message. Salvation and transformation come through Jesus Christ alone!
Take time today to think through God’s transformation stories in your life—maybe your own, your child’s, friend’s, or co-worker’s. How have you seen this work of the Lord, and how would you like to experience more of that transformation today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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