By Toni Ford
The conversion of Saul, the leading persecutor of Christians, was one of the greatest events in church history. Saul, whose name was changed to Paul shortly after his conversion, met Jesus on his way to Damascus. The Lord had a special work for Paul. This Hebrew of Hebrews would become the apostle to the Gentiles, this persecutor would become the great proclaimer of the grace of God. Paul had a grit about him, a focus and determination like none other. One can see these qualities and many others in three specific areas of his ministry.
Motive. Acts 20:24 says, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Paul was so gripped by his calling and devotion to Christ that some have referred to him as a “watchman.” A “watchman on the wall” had to stay awake and alert, ready to sound the alarm if he saw danger approaching. He had to be faithful, not fearful, because the safety of many people rested with him. Acts 20:31 says, “Remember the three years I was with you – my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.” Paul was a faithful watchman, declaring the Gospel to sinners and strengthening the church in each city he traveled through the Word of God.
Would others describe me as being gripped to my calling and devotion to Christ?
Manner. Acts 20:19-20 says, “I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.” Paul studied under one of the greatest Jewish scholars, Gamaliel, a man held in great esteem by the Jews and known as the “Pharisee doctor of Jewish Law.” This, along with his relationship to the religious and political leaders as well as the Gentiles, would easily make Paul well known wherever he traveled. However, Paul was never concerned with being recognized as a religious celebrity. Rather his motive was to serve the people with great humility and stay focused to the mission of sharing the Gospel with all people. Paul never shrank back but instead he consistently faced trials and dangers without quitting.
What is my manner with others? Is it one that looks for ways to serve others rather than be served by others?
Message. Paul’s message always brought a strong sense of unity and continuity. Paul was aware of his audience and would address them often as “brothers, family and friends.” He often would tie together the good news of the gospel with the promises God made through the Old Testament prophets. Acts 20:26-27 says, “I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.” Paul’s message was balanced and included the doctrines and duties as well as the privileges and responsibilities that belonged to the Christian life. In his preaching, Paul neither compromised nor went to extremes but kept things in balance, even when preaching to both Jews and Gentiles. When sharing the message of Jesus, is my message consistent, steady and unwavering?
Lord, I pray that you would help me to rise up in my boldness of sharing you with others. I pray that you would develop within me my motives, manner and message. Help me to have grit, determination and an unwavering faith when it comes to sharing you with others. Thank you for your protection and strength in my life.
If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!