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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“But the Lord said, ‘Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.’”—Acts 9:15 (NLT)
Confession time: I love Fixer Upper. I didn’t always, though. At first, my wife would watch the show, and I found myself mildly annoyed by the banter between Chip and Joanna Gaines. They were too “cutesy” and cheesy for my liking. But after having to sit through a ton of episodes, I actually became a huge fan.
As they claim in the intro, “We take the worst house in the best neighborhood and turn it into our clients’ dream home.” And as I sit here writing this, I can recall several houses that I couldn’t possibly imagine were salvageable. They were just awful, hideous eyesores, and yet, 45 minutes later, I was pining to live there!
In today’s verse, we see how God took the worst heart in the most passionate vessel and turned this chosen instrument into one of the most important and influential men in the history of the Church. We are, of course, talking about the apostle Paul, formerly known as the “Hebrew of Hebrews,” Pharisee Saul of Tarsus. Talk about a fixer upper! This man was, on the surface, quite possibly one of the most curious choices God ever made.
In Philippians 3, Paul himself tells us that he was a Pharisee who held as closely to the law as anyone in history, who persecuted the Church, imprisoning and murdering Christians. In fact, I once heard a teacher say that no single person in history hated Jesus more than Saul of Tarsus . . . that is, until He met Jesus! You see, just like Chip and Joanna do to houses, the Lord gutted Paul’s heart, made it brand new, filled it with His Spirit, and equipped Paul to be His messenger to the Gentiles.
This is, without a doubt, the most powerful and complete transformation found anywhere in the world. In Philippians 3:7–8 (NLT), Paul writes, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord . . .”
This is so significant for us to see. Why? Because we all have a Saul in our lives, that person we think God can never reach, that person too far gone for Christ’s transformative grace. For that person, I say to you: don’t stop praying, don’t stop trying, don’t stop believing. If God can transform Paul, he can transform anyone!
DIG: What are some other extreme makeovers we have seen in the Bible?
DISCOVER: Who is the Saul in your life?
DISPLAY: Spend time praying for that Saul in your life.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.