There is a trap set and waiting for any of us who believe we have arrived. When we get to a place that we think we have it figured out and that our relative goodness elevates us to a position of accomplishment, we are in trouble. When we are comfortable, we are succeptible.
The trap is self-imposed, yet crafted beyond us and intended for distraction from our destiny and ultimately our destruction. Pride in our own goodness is directly contrary to our actual Righteousness. The distinction is drastic and within it resides the difference between Freedom and death.
Saul was so sure of his own goodness that he used it as a platform to impose his beliefs and enforce his interpretation of those beliefs on others. He stood confidently on the moral high ground as he ruined the lives of those who dared to step outside the lines of his structured organization of validation.
Paul was wrecked by an encounter and that very encounter became his authority. He was never the same and the comparison between what he had thought was good and actual Goodness left him to work out the difference with fear and trembling. His authority in the lives of those around him came through his submission and ongoing transformation.
Saul had arrived. He was justified by education, performance and position. Paul was working it out. He was justified only by the Authority he had submitted to while remaining fully aware of his own weakness.
Our marketplace, government and religious leaders would more than likely choose a squared-away and accomplished Saul to speak at their corporate retreats and motivational gatherings. It’s doubtful that the fraility of Paul would provide a more attractive messenger when seeking to motivate either the secular or faith-based audience. The fact that the two audiences often act and react the same or similar is a tragedy in and of itself.
When we think we are good enough to occupy a position to be revered, the fall is further and the crash is louder. When we know that the battle rages on and that only in our weakness can we find Strength, there can be no fall from the posture we have assumed on our knees.