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Passionate Persecutor Transformed
Series: The Divine Pursuit - A Study of Jonah
Week 2: Response - Day 5
“THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT THEY BELIEVE IN GOD, BUT WITHOUT PASSION IN THEIR HEARTS, WITHOUT ANGUISH IN MIND, WITHOUT UNCERTAINTY, WITHOUT DOUBT, WITHOUT AN ELEMENT OF DESPAIR EVEN IN THEIR CONSOLATION, BELIEVE IN THE GOD IDEA, NOT GOD HIMSELF.” —MIGUEL DE UNAMUNO
Horses. They were everywhere. Horse sheets. Horse comforters. Horse ribbons.
Jodhpurs and helmets strewn about the room. I was fourteen, stepping foot into my nine- year old cousins’ room. This is my first memory of true passion.
My childhood passion, gymnastics, paled in comparison. My ripped-out magazine clips of famous gymnasts plastered to my wall were no match for the horse love found in Natalie’s sanctuary. Instead of Barbies, racing horses lay in various stages of dress and action. Barbie Mansion? No way. Horse Stable.
I find this kind of all-encompassing passion moving. A quick Google search reveals that people’s passions are as limitless as the imagination: over 36 million hits for fashionable shoes, over nine million hits for monster trucks and over 180 thousand sites for growing pumpkins. Google “God” and you get at least 45 million hits. Jesus? Right behind with 23 million.
Passion appears part of our DNA. But what happens when our passion is for the wrong things going the wrong direction? Today we will take a look at God’s plan at work through the apostle Paul. Remember the tenets of our study of Jonah? That
a. God is relentless in pursuing his mission of reconciliation in the world AND
b. God is relentless in pursuing you
The Apostle Paul is a fantastic example of how God can do it all. He is not an either/or God. He won’t choose his mission while abandoning us, nor will He coddle to us and leave His mission behind! He is not an either/or God. He is both.
Dictionary.com gives the first definition of passionate as “having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling; fervid.” This would describe the Paul we meet both before and after his dramatic conversion to Christ. Yet B.C.? Known as Saul, he may have been ruled a bit more by the fourth and fifth definition of passionate: “intense or vehement, as in emotions or feelings, easily moved to anger, quick-tempered.”
Turn to Acts 7:54-8:3 to read about Saul’s pre-encounter actions. What three things does Saul do in this passage?
A Jew by birth, Paul was intimately acquainted with the laws and rules of the Old Testament. He was sure in his efforts to persecute followers of “The Way,” the early designation for the burgeoning movement of Christianity. His intent to ravage and destroy the church was based in its p ...
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