Saturday, December 15, 2012

How to stop smoking (for some)

Galatians 1:13-14

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

Paul was a fairly famous person, at least in Christian circles. And this was true prior to his conversion. Prior to his conversion he was the guy you did not want to show up at your prayer meeting. Like having a cop show up at a drug deal. He was a bad man with a mission to destroy the church. Intensely destroy it. It was a passion of his. And this passion was working for him. He was quickly advancing up the ranks in his religion, destined for greatness and even more power. 

Where does such a passion come from? Or better yet, what can cause a man with such a passion to turn 180 degrees? Something had to happen to cause his mind to switch tracks.

My dad was a smoker for most of his life. He tried to quick various times, but soon was back to the habit. Then one day, he had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. That ended his craving for cigarettes. It just stopped, like a bug hitting a windshield. He often spoke about how he just no longer even desired a smoke. Not everyone who has a heart attack has the same result, but for him it turned his desire around and ended his addiction.

Paul met Jesus. He was confronted with what Christ had done for him. It turned him around. Not everyone understands the depth of what Christ has done like Paul did. Not everyone will turn like he turned. But to deny Paul's authority, to ignore what he will bring out in this letter, I don't think that was an option for the Galatians. I'm not sure it is an option for us either.

This speaks to what conversion is, what happened to Paul, and what needs to happen to you and me better than I can...

My favorite line: "If you don't have a new relationship with sin, you do not have a new relationship with God." 

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