If someone were to ask you about your past, what would be your initial reaction. If you are like most people, there is some positive, and…some not-so-positive back there. Do you have memories that you desperately would rather erase from your mind completely, because they are so painful? Perhaps a person wounded you in some way. Maybe you hurt someone else, either by your own sin or even unintentionally.
Last week, in Lesson 10 of Loving God with All Your Mind, I shared some of the many hardships that the Apostle Paul endured in his life as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who were striving against the Christian church had done many things to Paul: Imprisonments, beatings, stoning. How ironic. Were you aware that Paul was once the same?
Before Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, when he was still being called Saul, he was passionately going about doing those same things to other believers. He stood by and watched as Stephen was stoned to death. He would go from house to house, with the sole purpose of finding men and women who were Christians, throwing them in prison. Even when God met Paul on that road, he was on his way to Damascus with letters from the high priest that gave him permission to continue persecuting believers there as well.
Paul had much in his past he wanted to forget. Evil he had done, evil done to him. What about you? Perhaps you were a promiscuous young person or a bully in school. Was your life filled with booze, drugs and lawlessness? Were you abused by someone who was supposed to have loved you? Did you have a crime committed against you or someone close to you? We.all.have.something.
How was Paul NOT in the pit of despair? He was learning to love God with not only his whole heart, but his MIND.