12I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.I read these words and my first thought was... do I know who I was before God intervened in my life?
I remember as a teenager feeling so angry inside so often. Just feeling so very pent up. And one day telling God to "just get the heck out of my life". and then the feeling of emptiness that just came over me. I remember Mom asking me if I was okay as I apparently turned as pale as a ghost. I remember saying "I'm fine". And she left it alone. That complete feeling of emptiness, of not having the touch of God there, scared the world out of me. Later that day I repented of that anger and sending off to God and I've been stuck to God ever since.
But that feeling of complete emptiness and aloneness...that sticks to. And NEVER wanting to go back to that place. Just never.
Do I still get angry...yes... sometimes I think I will never stop being angry at things. BUT I've learned to laugh more, to see the 'God' things in life, to stop and consider more...and I see that ALL as the work of God in my life. I could so easily because a bitter and hard person, but God is gracious and merciful in keeping that soft side easily accessible. :)
So I read these words from Paul and I know that he knows where he doesn't want to go back to. he doesn't want to go back to that being "blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent". I know within my depths that all I am is totally dependant upon God's mercy in my life. That i can say with Paul "But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
God, through Christ, and by the work of the Holy Spirit is changing me, is making me more like him, and I know that it is not so much for my benefit (though it does benefit me) but that he can show what he can do in a person. Pretty cool eh? God can take a stubborn, angry person, and make them a sign of who he is.
Gives me a reason to praise my God! To him be all the glory, honour and praise.