My beloved bride watches a lot of different TV shows than I do. I'm not even sure she's looking forward to Monday's Steven Segall Marathon.
One of the types of shows she likes to watch takes a person who is "fashion challenged" and helps them present themselves in a much better light. Many times the person's whole attitude changes just because they feel as though they look better. But sometimes I get the feeling that deep inside, though their clothes have changed, they still are the same inside.
I was reading today about a guy who was totally sold out to one way of thinking. He had gone to school to learn more about that way, and graduated magna cum fanatic. Not content to let people decide what to do with their lives, he went around telling them how to live and throwing them in jail if they wouldn't do things his way. He had power and wasn't afraid to use it.
Funny thing though, he didn't impress anyone with his speech, and as far as his looks went, he was a candidate for an extreme makeover. One writer wrote about him and said " he was small in stature, bald-headed, bow-legged, and barrel chested with meeting eyebrows and a slightly hooked nose." Can anyone say "unibrow"? Yet he was having a ball kicking people around until he met Jesus.
That meeting changed everything. The guy even changed his name. Now Paul, who was driving people away from Jesus with the power of the law behind him, began calling them back to him with a word he had never used before.
His letters would begin with grace, and end with grace. Paul never got over what God had done for him, and when he thought about it the first word that came to his mind was...
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you his grace and peace.
2 Cor 1:2 (NLT)
Over and over you read that verse. Different churches, different times, but Paul had the same prayer for each of them - that God would give them grace.
Paul never ever got over grace. After getting blindsided by Jesus' grace he stopped worrying about his life, his work, even whether he lived or died. All he cared about, all he lived for, was to spread the good news that God's grace was available to everyone.
Even angry, bitter, power mad, short, bald-headed, bow-legged, barrel-chested uni-browed, hook-nosed men like him.
Everything changed when Paul met grace.
Oh, and afterwards, he was still short, still bald-headed, still bow-legged, still barrel chested, hook nosed and uni-browed. But I left off the last line that the ancient biographer wrote in his journal about Paul. Yes, he wrote all those unflattering adjectives, but then he wrote...
"full of grace."
That sort of change will do a body good. It's a makeover of the soul.
A Glimpse of New Hope is my attempt to share the hope I have found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Should you no longer wish to receive it, or find that you have received it in error, please write me at email@example.com and I will immediately remove you. Past "Glimpses" are archived at www.newhopevalp.org Thanks and God bless, David Wilson