September 9, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"For to me to live is Christ." Philippians 1:21
We admire the "complete dedication" of Paul's life and the tremendous work of grace God did through him. What an impact and influence he had upon men as the power of God was manifested in his life. But, let's look at all that went before this, and how it happened. It was the "process of God" working in his life.
Paul had an "encounter with God." He was on his way with a dedicated plan, motivated by a sincere belief, and thought he was doing the "right thing" in persecuting the Christians. But God in His grace reached down and touched his heart, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4). Saul saw himself "as God saw him."
From this encounter with God, his whole life was transformed. Everything took on a different perspective. He no longer counted life dear to himself, only as he could be filled with the fullness of God. All the attainments he had achieved, the favor and prestige he enjoyed from his peers and those in authority, he counted as but refuse compared to the knowledge of knowing Christ.
Meditate on the words of his testimony..."Whatever was my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things" (Philippians 3:7-8).
He was consumed with the Lord of his life. Everything was of secondary importance to being all God wanted him to be. The Holy Spirit moved through Paul in an unprecedented way. Not only countless lives were impacted by his life, as he ministered in his day, but God used him to write many of the epistles in the New Testament. These letters of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, give us some of the foundational doctrines of our faith...the truth and principles we should incorporate into our lives...the fallen state of man...and the matchless grace God revealed as God's infinite love reached down to provide man's redemption.
However great Paul was in his quest for God, he counted himself the least of all those who believe. Humility clothed his walk, and integrity characterized his life. He never forgot the pit from which he was dug...always remembering how he persecuted those who dared to follow Christ. Now he is one of those who have left all to embrace the gospel, and give himself completely to the plan and purpose of God. Many today cannot grasp the "surrender of his heart" and the "passion of his life for Christ," considering who he was before his conversion.
Paul endured many trials, persecutions, privations, adversities, beatings, imprisonment, and the scorn, bitterness, and hate of his enemies. But none of those things moved him from the "object of his faith"--Jesus Christ. His eyes, heart, and spirit were "fixed" upon the author and finisher of his faith. Look at his perspective. We count as gain those things he counted as loss. He endured as seeing Him who is invisible. He persevered over every human barrier. He strived for the mastery.
Paul's conclusive statement was..."I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could say that as our conclusive statement! Do you know what? WE CAN, when Christ is our LORD OF ALL and the SOVEREIGN OF OUR LIFE! Dare to believe...then dare to trust the ONE who can so impact your life!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-09-09
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