2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.
If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
As Paul traveled bringing the Good News, it would be probable he looked up to the sky and thought of what he'd left behind, good days of childhood, the days he loved worshiping the Most High in The Temple. Paul was unusual, God could have chosen many Pharisees. Paul had voluntarily asked to be the Temple Gestapo going to Damascus Synagogue. There had to be a lot of self-righteousness there. Paul was loved, reached out and changed by the Power of God.
Imagine if Caiaphas had been on the road to Damascus. Caiaphas might have thought about (like Paul, his participation in sentence of martyrdom death) different religious expression led to dishonor or death. An encounter with the Living God is still left in your hands for your choice. Although Caiaphas wouldn't have been left blind by a vindictive God, Caiaphas might have planned some magnificent spin (outright lies) for a spectacular retirement. Blindness would have caused reason for dismissal, priests were perfect physically. If Caiaphas had returned from an encounter with the Living God, he could have chosen just to continue as he was. 10 Lepers were healed by Jesus and only one returned to give thanks.
You can google Caiaphas, see his sarcophagus and the ruins of his home on the web. Caiaphas stayed at the religious pinnacle pushing down The Way for all his days.
Paul chose to let the Holy Spirit of God give his life meaning. Paul opened his hands and said, like Isaiah, "Send me Lord, send me." What an adventure Paul had.
We are invited today. All we have to do is ask. Father God, these are my hands, this is my life, let me live for Your Glory. Allow me to have all the Holy Spirit you would be willing to give me. Let me worship by Your Spirit. Always direct me, please, Father God. I will press on with my life as I know how to do, but I will need Your help because I am Yours. I cannot obtain Your Love, Wisdom, Perfection. Praise be to you, Lord Jesus, for Your mercy.