The gospel of Jesus Christ has power to transform lives are the words spoken by Paul, who once persecuted the followers of Christ. What then happened to bring about this change? Christ encountered Paul when he was travelling along with his friends to imprison Christians. Christ spoke: “Paul, Paul do you persecute me”? Paul was stunned. All along he believed by persecuting Christians he was serving God. Now Paul realised that his love for God and others was misdirected.
Paul experienced that the good news of the gospel transforms the hostility of the heart toward God and disordered love toward others into new affections imparting a new outlook toward God and all that He desires for His creation. As Jesus taught, the primary motive and direction for life in the kingdom of God is love. But to love God is easier said than done. Love for God is seen when our nature is directed towards the affection, volition, intellect, satisfaction joy, and goodwill in relation to all that God is. Love for God is a life oriented around an uncompromising commitment to love the things God loves. Paul was no longer filled with hatred for Christians he realised properly loving one’s neighbour predisposes one to a commitment to seeking the good of the other. What would the world look like, if individuals and communities seek good for the other! To love in this way requires that we understand what it means to love ourselves within a context of intimacy with God. To “love your neighbour as yourself” demands that we love ourselves well. To love oneself well is to do what is necessary to sustain one’s life and to fulfill one’s responsibility to preserve one’s human dignity, holiness, chastity, property, and reputation and to bring glory to God the Creator. As such, there is nothing sinful about one’s desire to pursue one’s best interests. Our best interests are to function in concert with God’s best interest for his world! Encountering Christ transforms life.