At the time Paul was still known as Saul, he was on his way to Damascus with a small army to take Christians captive, bring them back to Jerusalem, imprison and torture them. But on the way, Jesus appeared to him and he fell to the ground (see Acts 9:3). Trembling and astonished, this proud, misguided zealot asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Jesus directed him to go to the city, where “he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (9:9).

In those three days’ time, Saul’s mind was renewed as he spent the entire time in intense prayer, reconsidering his past life and renouncing his evil ways. That’s when Saul became Paul. He “spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (9:19-20).

Paul was a man who could say, “I was a man of influence; all my peers, including my fellow Pharisees, looked up to me. I was a powerful teacher of the Law, considered a holy man, climbing the ladder. But when Christ apprehended me, everything changed. The striving, the competing, everything that I thought gave my life meaning, was surrendered. I saw that I had missed the Lord completely.”

Paul had once thought his religious ambitions, his works, his competitiveness, his busyness, were all righteousness. He had thought it was all for God’s glory. Now Christ revealed to him that it was all flesh, all for self. Therefore, Paul stated, “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more” (1 Corinthians 9:19). He was saying, in essence, “I laid aside all desire for success and recognition and I determined to be a servant.”

Paul believed that the mind of Christ changes a person’s affections for all time. When Christ became his total satisfaction, he set his affection on heavenly things: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Our prayer should be, “Lord, I don’t want to focus only on myself in a world that’s spinning out of control. I know you hold my path in your hands. Please, Lord, give me your mind, your thinking, your concerns.”