The life of a Christian is one of service and sacrifice. That’s a fun way to start this week’s blog, straight into it. We all want to have the influence that the Apostle Paul had and get deep and profound revelations like he did, but that all came at a cost. I mentioned a couple weeks ago how God is more concerned about our maturity as His sons and daughters than He is about our comfort.
2 Corinthians 11:25-28 tells us this about the Apostle Paul, “Three times I experienced being beaten with rods. Once they stoned me. Three times I’ve been shipwrecked; for an entire night and a day I was adrift in the open sea. In my difficult travels I’ve faced many dangerous situations: perilous rivers, robbers, foreigners, and even my own people. I’ve survived deadly peril in the city, in the wilderness, with storms at sea, and with spies posing as believers.
I’ve toiled to the point of exhaustion and gone through many sleepless nights. I’ve frequently been deprived of food and water, left hungry and shivering out in the cold, lacking proper clothing. And besides these painful circumstances, I have the daily pressure of my responsibility for all the churches, with a deep concern weighing heavily on my heart for their welfare.”
That doesn’t sound enticing. Not one bit. God does not give us a break down of all the things we have to face along our journey of going from Saul to Paul. If He told us, very few would do it. I have an aversion to pain and suffering because I am a normal human being, lol, so I would naturally pick the less stressful, less painful, less tumultuous route to my future. But much like olives, there is oil that needs to come out from inside of us which comes out as we go through seasons of crushing. Our inner Paul comes out as we allow God to be God in our lives and navigate the storms of life with Him in charge.
Storms teach us about ourselves. I never knew how impatient I was until I had phone trouble and had to deal with customer service. God knows exactly what we need to go through to get our Saul out of the way so we can make room for Paul to emerge. The fruit of the Spirit do not sprout overnight. It is a journey of trusting God. Paul certainly had to trust God no matter what life was throwing at Him.
I find that life’s dramas show me areas where I am not trusting God. Places where I am doubtful and areas where I down right just do not believe God. I know He said it. I have read it in the Bible but deep inside I am not sure that it is for me. God does not allow life to happen to us because it’s fun for Him. Life happens because we live in a fallen world. We will have a beautiful joy filled eternity in heaven but here on earth, there will be trouble (John 16:33). God uses the things we go through in life to bring out the oil deep inside us.
When stuff hits the fan, we find out who we really are. I am sure Paul had a few words to say to the people who were stoning him, but he learnt when to speak up and when to hold his peace. Do you know when to stop talking?
We all have places that need work. Areas where we are still Saul, loving Jesus but full of religious zeal that is not tampered by love and grace or Godly attributes. We all have room to grow, but it is a long and hard journey to go from being Saul to Paul. It is not easy, but it is not impossible. The fruit is so beautiful on the other side. Look what the Apostle Paul accomplished. You never know what God has put inside of you that He is going to get out of you as you make your transition. Trust God with the process. Have faith in God always. He is for you, and He loves you.
Love and blessings,
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