I was reading this morning and stumbled upon something that stuck out to me like a sore thumb. I was reading Paul's first letter to the Galatians and this passage grabbed my attention. In this book Paul is explaining how he became a christian and how he persecuted the church and hated the church until God completely changed his heart. He went from killing, in prisoning, torturing a people for their faith to a few years later preaching the same very gospel and loving the very same God that those people devoted their lives to follow. And Paul's story alone could speak multitudes on God grace and love to us but I got caught up on verse 23, 24:
23 They only heard the report, "the man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy" 24 And they praised God because of me
The people that Paul had singled out to physically harm and to try and silence were his new brothers and sisters. He had done everything in his power to destroy these people and their belief system and yet God chose to use him in an unbelievable way.
Think about it, picture the bully from your school but picture him on steroids. That's who Paul was, he was out to harm your mom, your dad, your brothers, your sisters, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, your grandparents, and your children. Anyone who would claim to have a faith was an enemy of Paul's. But 3 years down the road after God met Paul and changed his heart dramatically God called Paul to preach the gospel. And the believers that had once been hunted down by this man were praising God because of him now. His dramatic life change forced them to see Gods love and grace and they praised God because of him.
Their faith makes me feel like I'm an inch tall. I love God but if you try to hurt my momma we will have some issues to work out. I think we would all love to say that we would turn the other cheek, or love our enemies but in reality how many enemies do we have in our daily lives? Maybe our enemy is the soccer ref, your child's teacher, a neighbor, an ex-relationship, a family member that harmed us or abused us. But imagine someone who was out to kill you, could you praise God instantly upon hearing that they were now a follower of God? Loving your enemy is one thing but praising God for your enemy, that's a whole different story.
To have a faith like these people is mind blowing. That's the kind of faith I want. Thats the kind of God I serve.