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by | Feb 21, 2024 | New Life, Salvation, Witnessing

I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

(1 Timothy 1:12-17 ESV)

When I was younger, I sometimes went to visit other churches. And people would stand up and tell dramatic stories about how they used to have really terrible lives and then Jesus saved them and they became completely different people with brand new hearts. They told stories like St. Paul—the man who went from being a persecutor to a super-missionary overnight.

It was wonderful to hear what Jesus could do. But it was also difficult to relate to someone like that. After all, most of us have not sinned dramatically like Paul did. We have not been persecutors. We have not helped to put people to death. We may not even remember a time before we belonged to Jesus.

In the same way, most of us do not have exciting stories to tell about life in Christ. We don’t struggle to survive in a jungle or to suffer for our faith in a concentration camp. Our daily challenges are more likely to involve getting along with family members or difficult co-workers. No one will want to make a movie of our lives!

And yet … we have more in common with Paul than we might think. Like Paul, we started from a position of complete helplessness—broken by sin, under the power of death and evil, completely unable to help ourselves. We too needed Jesus. And Jesus found us, just as He found Paul. He came to us and made us His own through Baptism and through faith in our Savior who suffered, died, and rose from the dead for our sake. Now we live our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit. And He shows His power daily through what we do and do not do, what we say and do not say—whether anyone else notices it or not.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether we have dramatic stories to tell. The only audience that matters knows all about it already—and that is the Lord. We live for His eyes, because we belong to Him and we love Him—because He loved us first and He came looking for us. Your story matters to Him. He is making something beautiful of you, something that pleases Him and makes Him very happy. How could it be otherwise, when He loves you enough to die and rise for you?

Prayer: Dear Savior, make my life what You want it to be—whether it’s dramatic or not. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on September 7, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. Did you hear or read any of those dramatic conversion stories when you were growing up?
2. If so, what did you think of them? How did they affect you?
3. Why do you think God chooses most of us to have quieter lives?