Saul-Paul, the man who would become an apostle of Christ, was not a Roman citizen, but was afforded some of their rights because of the region he was born in, a dual citizenship of sorts. Saul-Paul was Jewish-born into a family of Pharisees, the strictest sect most adherent to the Law. “Paul” would have been derived from his official Roman name and “Saul” would have been his preferred Jewish name. He attended the finest schools and learned scripture from the best rabbis. He harbored such zeal for the law, Saul-Paul went door to door, dragging believers off into prison. Yet everything changed when he encountered the Risen Jesus on the way to Damascus.
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized. Acts 8:17
All that he was, and all the gathered knowledge found new meaning in the light of the Risen Lord. The training he had used to deny Jesus was now his greatest strength to bring others to Jesus. And the name? In the Jewish community, “Saul” was more accepted, and “Paul” was more used in the gentile community. Two countries, two names, dual citizenship.
I am john, with a little “j”, part author, part musician, part goof-ball. In the 9 to 5, (7 to 5?, 7 to 7?, 25 or 6 to 4?) I am John G Adams, supposed important guy, signer of things, wearer of many hats. At times I wonder who I am and why I am here. Today, I am a teller of stories (if my boss is reading, fear not for I have donned many hats on your behalf today.)
Saul-Paul came to consider all his previous gain as garbage as compared to knowing Christ. Yet, all he was, the good, the bad, the really ugly, was but preparation for use by the Almighty. Likewise, all that I am, all the mud I’ve dragged through has brought me to this place, seeking whispers of God, scribbling words on a page to reach your eyes and hopefully your heart, for use by the Almighty.
We go by many names, yet one day, we will answer to only one.
You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. Isaiah 62:2
We are citizens of this orb we call earth and also citizens of heaven. Two kingdoms, two names, dual citizenship to be sure.
If these words have been a blessing, pass them along to another who needs to hear. Reach out to me at John@LiftedKeys.com and tell me your story. I would love to know where and in what way God has guided His words through my pen.