Paul Never Ever Gave up
Paul Never Ever Gave up
How do you know if you trust God? As we answer this question that’s go back to the attitude that Paul had during his imprisonment in Rome. Paul’s attitude during his imprisonment was to seek God’s glory. This also should be our attitude. Not only was Paul in prison but there were men supposedly followers of Christ and ministers of the gospel who were actually trying to add to Paul’s trouble by what they were preaching. Paul reports this event in: Philippians 1:14–17 (ESV) 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
What was Paul’s response to their actions? We read Paul’s response in: Philippians 1:18 (ESV) 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, In effect Paul was stating that it really doesn’t matter what happens to me or how I am affected by all of this. The important thing is that God is glorified.
Most of us have not progressed as far as Paul had in our Christian maturity. We have not attained that degree of selflessness that Paul had acquired in his life. We still have the attitude that it does matter what happens. We need to continue to reach and watch for opportunities to grow in the pursuit of the glorification of God. This should be our attitude to grow as we pursue the attitude of selflessness – being concerned only for God’s glory.
If you will respond to God with this attitude and humble yourself under his mighty hand you will experience his grace enabling you to be concerned primarily, if not entirely, for his glory. One of the commands that we have is to become like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This was the attitude that Jesus had while he was on this earth. He glorified God in all that he did.
As Paul describes the attitude of Christ in: Philippians 2:1–5 (ESV) 1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
Paul concludes (in 2 Corinthians 11) for the sake of argument that his opponents are servants of Christ but claims that he is more so. He proceeds to describe the hardships that he is going through yet he never ever gives up. 2 Corinthians 11:24–29 (ESV) 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
We can see the hand of God in Paul’s life. Knowing that God does all things well intends this only for our good. To help me put this in its proper perspective the following is a quote from Alexander Carlson;
“Nothing can be more consoling to the man of God than the conviction that the Lord who made the world governs the world; and that every event, great and small, prosperous and adverse, is under the absolute disposal of him who doth all things well, and who regulates all things for the good of his people. The Christian will be confident and courageous in his duty, in proportion as he views God in his Providence as ruling in the midst of his enemies; and acting for his good of his people, as well as for his glory, even in the persecution of the Gospel.”
What if someone you know has more talents than you have?
Would you step aside and be gracious and allow that person to use their talents?
How would you encourage them in using their talents?