Taking a brief break from Proverbs, I thought I’d write about the apostle Paul. It strikes me that many look at his conversion on the road to Damascus as a huge about face. After all, when he was Saul he was a persecutor of Christians, hunting them down and stoning them to death. When the Lord called him, he became one of the most influential figures in history of the world in the name of Christ. So on the surface it seems like he was completely changed by God.
I would submit that he wasn’t changed as much as he was redirected. You see, his ferverent zeal for the Lord began before he knew who the true Lord was. He thought he was doing God’s work when he was hunting down the “hethens” that followed the teachings of Jesus. In fact, when the Lord appeared to him, his first words were “who are you?” He had the tools that God was looking for, he just had to be put to proper use. God took that zeal that he had and redirected it for His own use.
It was as if he was running as fast as he could toward a point on the horizon that he thought was Heaven. Then God stopped him and showed him on the map that he was headed in the wrong direction. So he simply started running just as hard in the right direction.
In a similar way I think we all were created with a certain plan of God’s chosing. We will be shaped and molded into His image over time, but we will always be who He made us to be from the start. Some people are very analytical and logical (sort of like Paul). God can use that. Some like me are more emotional and compassionate (I tend to associate that with David). God uses each of us according to our own purpose.
Back when I was wondering if I should accept Christ and “become a Christian” I worried about changing who I was. While I wasn’t perfect, I enjoyed my individuality and didn’t want to be poured into a cookie cutter mold of what a Christian should look like. Thankfully I’ve come to understand that God rejoices in my individuality and in fact created me exactly as he wanted to for the purpose He intended. It just took me some time to understand that purpose.