“Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’” (Acts 21:1-14 NRSV).
As a Warrior for God, Paul makes General Patton look like a sissy. Paul has his critics both past and present, but you can’t say that he didn’t give it his all. He took “pass it on” to a level few, if any, have achieved. His is the turnaround story of the past two millennia. He went from killing Christians to a willingness to lose his life for Christ. Is there hope for us?
If we ever doubt that God forgives us our sins, Paul’s life certainly should give us hope. Yet we have a struggle accepting that forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ crucifixion. We are afraid and nervous about turning to God. If my reason for distancing myself from God is so noble that I say, “I don’t want to be hypocritical,” then all the more reason I should turn to God.
We become addicted to the natural life. We consume all of its pleasures. For many of us only a disaster in life can begin to turn us toward God. How do we discipline ourselves between disasters? Faith is the answer and faith needs regular nourishment. If we don’t try to model our lives after the Saints, the devil will move in and give us a role model. Genesis starts with, “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth (NRSV),” not, “when man or Satan created them.”
Paul’s brothers and sisters in Christ loved him so much that they didn’t want him to go to Jerusalem for fear that he would be killed. Paul loved Jesus so much that he was willing to leave his friends behind and risk his life spreading the Gospel. Think about the little things that get in the way of our serving God. Compare them to Paul’s roadblocks and suffering for the Lord.
Father God, I have so many examples to model. I pray that You will help me to see myself in Your Saints for I must set my sights on Sainthood. Thank you Father. AMEN.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.