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I'm Stephen
5/6/2011

I'm Stephen
The Transformation of Paul

And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him. Acts 22:20 (NKJV)

There is probably no better way to see how far you have come on a journey than looking back at where you once were compared to where you now are.   I can find myself doing this as I ride my bicycle or go jogging up in the hills around my house - looking back down at the lower elevations it always amazes me how far I have gone in such a short amount of time.  

I find this to be true as well in my life.  There are times where I don't feel as though I am making any progress in my spiritual walk with God.  When this happens, I will take a brief look back over my past few weeks, months, or even years to see what God has done in me, and through me.  When I do this, I can find it mind boggling to see how different my thoughts, actions and values are.   I don't re-live the convictions or condemnation of my past failures (Rom. 8:1), or give them ground within my thought-life (2 Cor 10:5), but focus on God's grace and transformation in each area once in bondage to Satan.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

I thought about this very concept of looking back as I was reading about the Apostle Paul being taken into custody in Jerusalem as recorded in the Book of Acts (Acts 21:33, 37).  Guards were literally physically carrying out Paul so the angry mob could not kill him.  But before Paul was taken away he asked the commander in charge, "I implore you, permit me to speak to the people" (Acts. 21:39).

Paul then begins to share his testimony with the people - about how Jesus had met him on the road to Damascus.  He shared how Jesus had changed his life.  He then reflects how he once guarded the clothes of those who had stoned Stephen to death for being bold in his faith.  

At this point I have to wonder if Paul began to see clearly the transformation of his own life -  how he had once been hard-hearted like those who Stephen spoke to.   Now Paul was the one speaking to people with hard hearts.  I can almost picture Paul thinking to himself, I'm Stephen, as he spoke boldly to the Jewish people and they became angry wanting to kill him.  

And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live! Then,"as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air..." Acts 22:22-23 (NKJV)

The fact of the matter is both Stephen and Paul had been transformed to be like Jesus Christ.  This same transformation is going on in every Christian believer and is fostered and quickened as we continue to read God's Word (Rom. 12:1-2), and spend time with Him in prayer.  

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today in your Christian walk.  We need to remember God's promise to us of how He will finish the work He has started within us (Phil. 1:6).  We need to take time every now and then to look back and see how far we have come and how much we have changed.  Then we need to stop and give all praise and glory to our Lord and Savior for this transformation.  If you see something still needing to be changed within your life, simply tell the Lord you are ready to let Him have this part of your life as well.  

STUDY QUESTION: According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, what are we all being transformed into?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Can you look back and see God's transformation within your life and Christian walk?

APPLICATION: Ask God to show you any area where you are stubbornly hanging on to your old ways of living.  Now choose freely to lay these areas at His feet and ask for His transformation and healing.

Father, thank You for Your transformation of my life.  Help me to see every area where I am not abiding in Your will, or where I am being deceived by the enemy.  Help me to lay these habits, vices, or bitter emotions down at Your feet and be healed today.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000