August 21, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"For whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ...that I may gain Christ...I want to know Christ...I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:7-14
Many can tell of having come from immigrant parents, who came to America with only the clothes on their back and a very few dollars in their pockets to seek freedom, liberty, and an opportunity they had never known in their country. From their poverty, they sought to maximize their opportunity with sheer hard work, determination, and an insatiable desire to succeed...and many did!
Paul knew something of this life, but his testimony is in reverse of the immigrant. Paul was an "arch achiever" before his conversion. He had a resume second to none. From every standpoint, Paul stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries. He was the idol of the people, the favored one of the Pharisees, a devout keeper of the law, and of legalistic righteousness, faultless. As for his zeal, he persecuted the church, imprisoned the Christians, and created chaos for the followers of Christ.
Then something very unusual happened! He listened to the uncompromising witness of a devout Jew, named Stephen. With unwavering devotion to God, Stephen stood steadfast and true before the powerful Sanhedrin. Stephen so impacted Paul with his defining accusations and penetrating account of Christ to those hypocritical Jewish rulers, that it left an indelible impression on Paul. Soon, the "idol of the people" became the object of God's intervention. PAUL MET GOD ON GOD'S TERMS on the way to Damascus to persecute the Christians.
His life was transformed forever! From his pedestal of human acclaim he became abased before men...a servant to all, willing to be all things to all people that he may win some. He saw himself as "the chiefest of sinners" and "the least of all saints." But God's hand was upon him.
Paul exchanged his acclaim before men that he might have the approval of God. You might say, "Why would he give up such worldly success, acclaimed by all in power, for a life of a servant among men?" The answer is simple, yet profound...Paul had an ENCOUNTER WITH GOD! He saw himself as God saw him! He would henceforth live not for the illusive tinsel of this world, but wholly committed to Jesus Christ. Paul had a "passion for God" that consumed his life. He pursued his quest with unreserved commitment, complete dedication, and determined perseverance. He was sold out to God.
Let me ask you. Have you met God in such a transforming way? Have you seen yourself as God sees you? Is Christ the priority of your spiritual journey? God wants to take you from "what you are" to "what HE wants you to be!" THIS HE WILL DO...IF you surrender your will to His will...if you commit to the Lord "the right to rule your life," and let HIM be the Lord and Sovereign of your life.
God will not impose His will, His way, or His purpose on you. This must be your choice...but how glorious when you let HIM be the Lord of All! What an "EXCHANGE" takes place. Life for death...freedom for bondage...forgiveness for condemnation...liberty for self-imposed boundaries...more than a conqueror through Him that loved us. HOW GLORIOUS! Make the choice Paul made when HE MET GOD! You too will be transformed by His mighty power.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-08-21
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