“You have been told how I used to live when I was devoted to the Jewish religion, how I persecuted without mercy the church of God and did my best to destroy it. I was ahead of most fellow-Jews of my age in my practice of the Jewish religion, and was much more devoted to the traditions of our ancestors”.
Gal 1:13, 14 GNB
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a man of great wisdom, once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”.
Paul the apostle was very much aware of what lay behind him and where he had come from. He was brought up a strict Jew with passionate devotion to the law. That prompted him to oppose the Christian church since it sought to convert Jewish people and take them away from the synagogue. But that was the past, and it shaped Paul’s thinking and actions. But now it was different. What lay within him was Christ Jesus, his Lord and Saviour. Paul was grateful for the way he had been brought up. It made him understand the history of his own people. And it enabled him to fully appreciate the meaning and significance of the grace of God in Christ once he became a Christian. His story was one of moving from passionate opposition to passionate promotion of the gospel of Jesus. He was a profoundly changed man. For that he gave all glory to Jesus Christ.
You may not have been brought up outside the Christian fold. But you can be as profound in your belief in, and love for, Jesus Christ. Think of your past, and, whatever it was, move forward in Christ, with Christ and for Christ.
Lord, move me forward to the future to which you beckon.