3For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
When defending himself against those who oppose him, Paul does not do what we would expect. He does not try to show himself as one who is great. He gives the truth of his story as a persecutor and great sinner for the sake of demonstrating the grace of God.
Our lives are meant to be a testimony to the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Our story is about His work in our lives. Whether we have been saved out of what is considered to be horrendous sin or lived quite a normal life without great sin, it took the cross of Christ to redeem us for God. Like Paul, we must be careful to always deflect attention upward to Christ for God’s glory and not to anything else, especially ourselves.
This ought not to be difficult for the real Christian. Real Christians are thrilled that God has done what they could not. They are so taken up with the work of Christ by grace that they do not want to be seen as much as they want Him to be seen. Salvation is by grace so that “no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9). God calls people who are nothing in the eyes of the world so that no one may boast before Him (I Corinthians 1:29).
Learn from Paul’s testimony – focus on Christ.