Debbie Salter Goodwin
Paul: A Heart Transformed
Most of the New Testament scripture I remember the best, Paul wrote. He was a master in communicating the truths of transformation. He left no wiggle room. While his conversion was dramatic, it was the change that occurred in his heart, mind, and perspective that gave him a new voice. To be fighting against the Christians one day and to take their side the next? It’s the story of a mass murderer turned world evangelist!
Paul writes where I live and struggle. Read closely and you understand that his personal relationship with the resurrected Christ was not a personality change; it was a heart transformation. What Jesus did in his heart, opened his eyes to a power that did not come from a try-harder mentality or fighting insecurity with perfectionism or power control. While he was not a gentle man, he was transparent and humbled in ways that strengthened his ability to communicate with the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless.
Here are two lessons I keep close to my heart in my desire to let Jesus continue to transform my heart.
1. Pray from the heart that Jesus transformed.
Read Paul’s prayers. They were not head prayers or pretty word prayers. They were heart prayers. Paul's prayers weren’t about changing his circumstances; they were about heart transformation. He wanted the people who received his letters to find the same heart transformation. Anytime I pray one of Paul’s prayers, I have heart work to do in order to pray them. He continues to mentor me in prayer.
2. Protect your heart and mind from contamination.
It’s the little things that fester and contaminate. The small bitterness that grows. The subtle jealousies that I call unfair. The anger that blinds me from my own insufficiencies. Paul didn’t live in a protected bubble. He wrote and spoke about how Jesus changed his heart in these areas. I can listen to someone who struggled like me, and found Jesus’ help real, practical, and effective. Paul continues to mentor me in growth.
Paul, lion of God, prolific writer, prisoner for Christ, unchained while in chains. I don’t want Paul’s life but I do want the life of Christ in me like it so powerfully lived in Paul. If you’d like to take another look at Paul’s life and lessons, download the one-page Bible study below.
Our world needs more people like Paul. What kind of heart-work will it take for you to do your part?