The Same..Only Different

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 11:29 NKJV

We all have gifts. They are as much a part of us as our hair color or fingerprints. They have been given to us by God long before we knew him. Whether we misused these gifts or tried to hide them, they are in us and make up who we are. Saul of Tarsus was a man who had a gift. His gift was a true love for God. A zeal for God that was unwavering and unquenchable. He considered himself to be a true follower of God. His impressive resume is clearly shown in Philippians 3:4-6 –

although I once also had confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.”

Very impressive. Today we would say that Saul is the right man for the job. Fully qualified. From the best family and educated at the best school. An Ivy League, well breed man. Except….

Except, he was kicking against the thorns. He was fighting the wrong fight. This man with a righteous upbringing and a vast knowledge of God was going in the wrong direction and actually fighting against the God whom he loved. That’s why God knocked him off his horse and blinded him long enough to show him his error.

Saul became the Apostle Paul. The same Paul who went on to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the known world, wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, considered the afflictions suffered for Christ’s sake as minor, saw a glimpse of heaven and lived to tell us about it.

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come

2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB

So, I want to ask you a question. Did Saul become a new man named Paul? Or, was he still the same?

I see in Paul a man with a great personal knowledge of God and zeal that carried him all over the world telling people about Jesus. Kinda sounds like something didn’t change.

So, he was the same…only different!

That’s my point exactly. Paul had gifts inside him that made him who he was. Smart, well read, passionate, bold, courageous. These gifts didn’t disappear when he was converted. No, they were re-directed. He was turned around and set in the right direction by the hand of God to the glory of God and for the fulfillment of his calling. The “newness” of Paul (besides his name change) was that he no longer opposed God and was now working with God. But his gift remained in him.

So, by now, if you are still reading, you are asking – “What does this have to do with me?” – Clearly, EVERYTHING!!

God created all of us with gifts. Gifts, abilities, passions, aptitudes, talents, call them what you will, they are in you and are you. If you don’t know Jesus right now those gifts might be being misused or hijacked but they can be redirected. Call out to Jesus and He will answer you and direct you.

If you do know Jesus but think you have no talent – you’re wrong. What you need to do is stop looking around at others and seeing their gifts and look inside yourself. Quietly, thoughtfully, prayerfully and patiently look for the passion within you and ask God to use it for His glory.

It does not matter what level of education or position in society. It doesn’t matter where you live or how you were raised. It doesn’t matter who old you are or how physically fit you may be.

You are unique! You are Special and you are GIFTED! There is a place in this world for you and your gift – it’s waiting for you. Like an empty space in Gods Kingdom that’s ready for you to fill.

Don’t worry, you’ll still be you – the same…only different!!

Be Blessed, Al

PS – The Apostle Peter is also a wonderful example of a gifted man who was redirected to the glory of god – look for him in an up coming post. Al

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