Here we are again … a new day in a new week. And … another edition of our weekly “just thinkin’”. So why do I take time to write my thoughts out to share with those who will see & read them? Well, I’m not sure how important they are in others’ lives – but I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe … these life experiences afforded me - by the most important & exciting Person in my life – could maybe help encourage or challenge someone. Of course, that Person is GOD! And my friends … HE’s given us all, the ability to impact each other thru the lives & experiences HE has given us. How cool is that?
This week, I find myself dwelling on a wretched, but powerful man of the Bible. Powerful in both a good & bad way. Wretched … because in all we admire about him – he freely admitted that he was just a “sinner” like all others. And I’m “just thinkin’” … this guy has impacted so many people with his life – and death – that it’s hard to imagine the depth of that impact on all who are followers of Christ!
Join me please … as we “peek into” the life of this popular, Christian “pillar” of our faith. – the infamous man Paul. I just wanna’ remind you of a few things of his life :
- We see him for the 1st time in Scripture – as a young man serving as one sent out to
“squash” a group following Jesus, called followers of “The Way”. (this was the name of the group of 1st Christians … ones starting to follower Jesus after his death, resurrection & ascension to heaven)
- With the support & backing of the ruling – Jewish body of Pharisees & Sadducees … he continues in his work in “abolishing” this group
** We see all of this taking place, starting in Acts 7:54+ **
When we get to chapter 9 … we see an intense introduction to the reality of this Jesus who people have been following & growing in numbers.
- Saul is blinded
- Jesus asks Saul a simple question … “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
- Saul then succumbs to the reality - that he’s just met a real “Deity”!
- This Deity is the One & only Jesus … the real Son of God – in person!
What a powerful experience! A life-changing … passion altering experience!!
Every time I read this … I’m “blown away” by how Jesus chose to get Saul’s attention! But yet this time - I find myself just stopping & thinkin’ about Saul’s obedience & quick to grow fervor for loving, serving & following Jesus!
- He was so “overwhelmed” by Jesus – that tho’ he probably had lots of questions – he
- & accepted who Jesus was/is – that he didn’t care what anyone said. I mean think about it. He had travelers with him … & we can assume they would at least know what “business” he was about in abolishing this new group of Jesus followers - “The Way”. But I don’t see him worrying about what they would say or what they may report back to the Pharisees & Sadducees.
Hmmm …he did what Jesus told him to do.
- He chose to trust Jesus, as He was temporarily blinded … but, yet made to see once again.
- He never looked back!
- He never fell to “monotony” … as he knew he was a new creation thru Jesus’ forgiveness & salvation!
- He found that he was able to “speak out” FOR Jesus, instead of against Jesus as he had been doing. He knew who he had met … & didn’t hold back in sharing about HIS LORD & SAVIOR!
- Eventually, Jesus calls him to be a messenger to the Gentiles.
- It is important to understand that Paul, being of Jewish decent- and yet a citizen of Rome – had 2 actual names. One being “Saul” (Jewish) & the other being “Paul” (Gentile “Roman”)
- It was some time after he started following Jesus & preaching … that he refers to himself at Paul for the remainder of his life. In Romans 11:13 … he proclaims his ministry to those who are not of his own (those who aren’t Jewish)
- He never argued with Jesus … he simply moved in action.
- In being educated in the teaching of the Pharisees … being qualified as one himself … he never held himself “higher” than anyone else before GOD. Tho’ confident in his education & knowledge of Scripture – he understood & was not afraid to share that he was a sinner just like everyone else.
My friends, ones who are followers of “The Way” – JESUS CHRIST …
- Why is it so hard to strive for the same kind of obedience Paul had?
- Why is it so hard, to keep Christ at the center of our life?
- Why is it so hard, to trust Jesus like Paul did … no arguments – no doubts?
Haven’t we met Jesus in amazing way as well?
- We were blind to our sin, before he “opened our eyes” to it
- We were made to “see anew” when we came to him in repentance … asking for HIS forgiveness
- We have seen the “goodness” & “power” of GOD in our lives too – right?
(If you struggle with answering this question – then look around a little harder, more focused. You are blessed in) many ways my friend!
Paul really doesn’t have anything “over us” in his experiences with Jesus. We’ve all been “rescued” from the pits of hell & eternal damnation thru JESUS!
Hmmm … but does Paul have something “over us” in his life’s response to the “rescue” of his soul?
Just think on that question for a while.
In the words of Paul himself …
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life & peace.”
“Pressing on towards the prize that is ahead” …