Identity Confusion


A few years ago, I attended my ten-year high school reunion. Apart from the awkward small talk, the bad dancing, and the endless photos of children, I realized that almost everyone is more or less the same as they were back in school. The same laugh. The same interests. The same stories. But a select few of the people I talked with that night were completely different than they used to be. Something in their lives had totally transformed. And even though I had known them my entire life, they were strangers to me.

  • Think back on someone in your life who has gone through a complete transformation. Why is this hard to accept?


For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Where was Saul and how is he spending his time?
  2. What was the public reaction, both positive and negative, to Saul’s teaching?
  3. What did the Jewish leaders in Damascus determine to do with Saul, and why did it fail?
  4. Why were they confused by Saul’s motives?
  5. When, if ever, has your faith put you in danger? When has your faith required you to take a stand against public opinion?


In reading this passage, I am reminded of when Jesus returned to Nazareth and preached before the people of his hometown. The community had a hard time recognizing Jesus’ teachings because they knew him as one person (a boy), and yet, he was claiming to be something else (the Messiah). Saul faced the same dilemma in Damascus. It’s hard to run from the old perceptions others have of us, especially when we’ve been transformed by Jesus. But the truth of who we are now always rises out of the ashes of our past. And when that new person comes into conflict with the old, God will be there to rescue us.

  • Thank God for the transformation that has taken place in your life. Pray that, like Paul, God would empower you to stand strong in your faith.