Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Paul's commitment

One of the most respected and feared men in Biblical history is the Apostle Paul.  Before he met Jesus on the road to Emmaus his name was Saul, and his passion was to stop the spread of the people of “the way” (that is what the followers of Jesus were called).  He thought the best way to stop them was to kill them.

If the history books are correct, Paul was the one holding Stephen’s coat when he was stoned to death for telling people about Jesus.  Yet when things changed for Paul, they really changed.

The apostles even had a hard time accepted Paul when they were asked to spend time with him.  They protested and asked if this was the dude who was killing their friends for following Christ.  The answer was yes, but something had happened in Paul’s life.  He was a changed man that was given a second chance from God.

In fact the majority of the Bible’s New Testament is attributed to Paul as it’s author.  His passion was changed from stopping Christianity from spreading to spreading it.

That’s what Paul did with the rest of his life.  He went from place to place telling Jesus’ story, starting churches and encouraging people to follow Jesus with all they had.  That is also what Paul was doing, following Jesus with everything in his being.

Here is a portion of Scripture that offers us insight in to Paul’s commitment:

Philippians 3:7-10  NLT    
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him.  I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.  I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

In these verses Paul shares that his values changed and what he valued changed.  Is that what God has done and continues to do for you?  The answer is yes if we are sold out to loving God with all that we are, all we have and all that we do.  What Paul valued in the past was now garbage and not important. 

Experiencing God is what was of value to Paul at this point and through to his death.  That is what he exemplified for all who met Paul.  Literally what Paul asked for was to experience spiritually the death of Christ.  He was saying that he was willing to die to himself and let God live through him.  You can find that in many other places where Paul wrote.  Even the history books recount this fact about Paul.  His passion to follow Jesus was Paul’s commitment and ought to be ours as well.

Reread those verses.  What is your commitment to following Jesus?

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