Acts 9:15-16, 29-31 "But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! this man is my chosn instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name...(29)He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
I couldn't help but wonder when I read verse 16, "I will show him how much he must suffer for my name" if Saul/Paul had any idea what God was going to do in his life in order to use him to increase the Kingdom? To be met on the road by the very One you persecute and whose followers you kill, and to come "face-to-face" with the lies of what you believe and fight for? How powerful that transformation!! Anyone could live a life transformed in that situation, but to have your beliefs and not your personality changed, that is where the whole thing changes. Paul was a bold and confident man. When he believed something, he believed it was worth fighting to the death for. This is seen in how people reacted to him in the verses between the verses I have posted here (an amazing biography ~ you won't be disappointed in taking the time to read it!). They were fearful and cautious in accepting him. Even the very man God called to restore Saul/Paul's eyesight, Annanias, responded with, "I have heard many reports about this and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem..." Saul's reputation had gone before Paul the Transformed...the price he paid was great.
However, it is that last verse up there that shows the true power of transformation, "Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. I'll venture to bet Paul's words had an impact, yes, but how much more powerful and impactful the power of his transformation in Christ!
How about you? Are you willing to accept the consequences of facing who you were in order to show who you are in Christ? How is the Word of God transforming you so you can share the Gospel with those around you...using words when necessary?