A Changed Life
Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. Acts 16:34
When I first attempted to find recovery, I was told, by those who had years of sobriety, what it would take to get there. If you’d asked back then if I believed in their instruction, I’d have said yes – and I wouldn’t have consciously been lying. If you’d have looked at my life a short year later though, you’d have seen that I’d not followed this instruction. I had a belief, but it got stuck in my head and never quite found its way into my behavior. In my mind only, as a simple belief, it did me no good and soon, I was back at my addiction.
In today’s passage, we’re told of the radical transformation that accompanies authentic belief. Saul, once a persecutor of Christians, came to believe in Christ and repented, completely transforming his life. Instead of destroying the church, he tirelessly spread the gospel, which landed him in prison. On this occasion, when God opened the prison doors and loosened his chains, Paul didn’t leave, but rather stayed, saving the life of his jailer. The jailer saw Paul’s bizarre behavior and understood it to be the evidence of a life changed by God.
The jailer then believed too. Like Paul, his belief wasn’t simply a useless thought in his head, but instead translated into a drastic change in behavior. Just a few minutes before, he’d been responsible for keeping Paul and Silas in prison. When he thought they’d escaped, he was going to kill himself. Upon his transformation though, he dressed the apostle’s wounds, removed them from prison, was baptized, and took them into his home.
Paul’s faith changed his life, and, in his transformation, other’s saw that new life and came to believe. In their belief, they too were changed, and the so the gospel spread. This is the way it was back then, and it is the way it’s supposed to be today.
Many of us though, still have a belief that is simply stuck in our heads. If anyone asked us, we’d say we believe. We’d even claim to be Christians. If there is no evidence of that faith in our thoughts, words, and actions though, is it real? If we truly have faith, there will be some proof of it in our changed lives.