When I think about someone becoming a servant, I look to one of my favorite people in the Bible, Saul who is later renamed and better known as Paul. The reason why I consider Paul one of my favorite people is because he was and still is a living example of what it looks like to be obedient to God’s word. Now it didn’t all happen immediately which is what I love even more. You can easily place yourself in Paul’s shoes to understand the sacrifices one must make to follow God. One of those sacrifices is giving up your independence.
Step one into leaving the self-reliant phase is by allowing your dreams to die. Before Saul is renamed and believes in Jesus, he was living by his own agenda. Saul has his own personal agenda to destroy all believers of Jesus. He was wreaking havoc amongst all believers in the area. In his own destruction of others, he was gaining acclaim. This would seem good right? You are getting popular and you are fulfilling your own agenda. But it’s at the expense of others and most importantly it’s coming at the expense of God’s purpose.
Damascus is really where he allowed his dreams and personal pursuits to die in order to follow Jesus. At that moment when the light shone and he heard Jesus speaking to him, he lets go and he asks the Lord what his next step is. This first step can be so hard. I know from various experiences, letting go of my own dreams is hard for me because sometimes there is so much time invested in what you have already done. But, if God has not placed his hand into it, it has to be let go. In Saul’s case, he had to let go of everything he was to become the person he was called to be. When he lets go and allows God to have control, he becomes the chosen vessel God has called him to be in Acts 9:15.
Saul having his name changed to Paul wasn't just a simple name change. It resembled a change in perspective. When Luke names him Paul, he can fully live out his calling. He is no longer Saul, the Jew who was persecuting believers of Christ, he himself becomes a believer. He releases himself and allowed his former ways to die in order for him to live with Christ.