The Life of the Apostle Paul

2 Aug

The Life of the Apostle Paul 

Recently in my personal Bible reading, I have been reading through the book of Acts. One of the themes that seems to stand out to me is the faithfulness of Paul. Often while I was reading, I thought, I hope I can be that strong in the face of trials!

 The main characteristic in the life of Paul is that he was very zealous. He was completely devoted to doing what God wanted him to. Even when it seemed all opposition was against him, he still went where God led him. We can see from Paul’s life how important it is to have the right goal in life. Paul was very zealous before he became a Christian, but he was following the wrong master! When he accepted Jesus into his life, he allowed God to use his talents in the work of the church. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.  Acts 9:20 (NKJV)

 There were many times when Paul faced unpleasant things, but he always did his best. For instance the leaders of the Jews often made trouble for him as they did not want him teaching Christianity to their people. Many times Paul was beaten, stoned, and imprisoned. Are they ministers of Christ? –I speak as a fool–I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness– besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 2Co 11:23-28  (NKJV)

 I am very impressed how Paul would explain his beliefs to those who arrested  or opposed him. There are lengthy passages where Paul recounts the history of God’s people and the church to those around him. You can tell the Christian life was really at the heart of Paul’s life and passion. He was speaking from his heart not just reciting some document about what he believed. Some examples of Paul’s testimomies are found in Acts 13 and in Acts 22.

 I think the secret of Paul’s strength and endurance is that he had a very strong relationship with God. There are many times when it says God revealed things to him. But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” Acts 23:11 (NKJV)

  Sometimes we wonder why God lets people go through things like this. Why didn’t he protect Paul from being beaten and stoned? I don’t know all the answers, but I know God is always faithful and knows what is best. He cares for His children through their trials. I think of the story of when Paul and Silas were in prison. Having received such a charge, he [the jailer] put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Acts 16:24-33  (NKJV)  Even though this was a bad situation for Paul and Silas, God delivered them and also used them to teach others to live for Christ.

 So may we all be faithful to God and His calling on our lives. I want to be able to say with Paul: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2Timothy 4:7 &8 (NKJV)

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