Lessons from Paul’s Life
It is vital to remember the words of encouragement, “I Will never forsake you.” The Lord understood the nature of humanity, and predicted the challenges his people would face in society. If we are among those who value sola scriptura, and living by every word of God, then we will face difficult times. Paul spoke of such times when the majority would scoff at God, and hate and slander those who love the truth. But Paul, who suffered many things at the hands of evil people, had some advice.
Like Thomas Paine, Paul wrote of “times that try men’s souls.” Paine saw the character of those who were, ‘summer soldiers and sunshine patriots’ These combatants during the American revolution would shrink from serving their country and leave the field of battle when the fighting got tough. We who are serving the Kingdom of God, need to consider whether we will be able to stand firm during these times that try men’s souls. And Paul’s example is one to consider. He faced many trials and overcame through them all.
A Man with a Mission
Paul,on his missionary journey through Asia Minor, was slandered and maligned by those who stirred up a mob to stone Paul. In Lystra where he healed a cripple man, at first the mob wanted to worship him. But, when he refused their sacrifices, they ended up stoning him and leaving him for dead. Paul was not a ‘summer soldier’ for he got up and soldiered on, preaching the gospel. He exhorted the brethren to persevere. And, reminded them that it was through much tribulation that we must enter the Kingdom of God. He was able to encourage others, assuring them that in spite of persecution, that the Lord would rescue them from it all. Just as he had rescued Paul.
God had given Paul the unique experience of special visions of the heavenly realm to encourage him in his work. But to keep him humble, the Lord had also allowed Paul to endure a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ Paul took comfort, however, in knowing that when he was physically weak, he could be spiritual strong. Why? Because God’s power would work through him to accomplish his mission. Paul understood, as did the Psalmist, God’s love for those who have faith in him.
Remember All of God’s Benefits
David encouraged God’s people to remember all of God’s benefits. God was merciful and would forgive, redeem, and heal those who cried out to him for help. He knows our weakness, but in his everlasting compassion, he will strengthen his people. He will not forget his covenant with us. Jesus, as he anticipated his death, was able to acknowledge that the flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing. And it is God’s spirit that will help us soldier on. So that we can say as Paul did, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” We can be assured that God will give us everything we need to succeed.
I Will Never Forsake You
It is the spirit of the Lord that gives us true freedom. Through the power of the spirit we are transformed, transfigured. God is moulding us into the image of his son, Jesus Christ, so he can dwell with us. So when we face trials, persecution, and challenges of all kinds, Paul advises us to keep our eyes on Christ. Like Paul, we need that vision of future glory. So, we can run the godly race with endurance. We can fight the good fight of faith, taking a hold on life, strengthening our weak knees, and never giving up. We can do all of this knowing that we have Christ’s promise, “I will never desert you! I will never leave you without support! I will never forsake you!”
Hope of the Resurrection Series