Obsessions take over our lives, leading us to become so preoccupied with an idea that everything else has to take a back seat. The very word indicates something that is not quite normal, that goes beyond what we regard as usual. We can be obsessed with anything: a person, an idea, a hobby, a possession. There’s usually an element of a normal liking becoming twisted, so that if we say someone is obsessed, we are pointing to something that has an element of fanaticism or abnormality to it.
Paul’s account of his life before meeting Christ is ruthlessly honest. He says that he was a fierce opponent of Christians: ‘Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.’ (Acts 26:11) Such a person is the last person you would expect to end up on trial for the Christian faith, but Paul’s story of his conversion is one which shows that to break or cure an obsession, you have to have a greater goal!
Paul’s life was changed by his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. It was a complete U-turn: from persecuting Christians to preaching the gospel and being persecuted himself. We should never underestimate the power of personal testimony or doubt that meeting with Jesus is enough to overcome any obsession or addiction. As the singer Carman once said, we should only be addicted to Jesus! Anything else will control us, but He sets us free to serve Him and become the people we were meant to be.