Most people in this world have a hero, be it in writing, sport, music, whatever. Next to Jesus, my hero in the Christian life is the Apostle Paul.
Heíd no doubt be surprised today at my (and probably our) reverence and esteem because it wasnít his desire or aim to become famous. All he wanted was to serve God, and he did it with more obedience, determination, guts and persistence than anyone except Jesus. At least hundreds, maybe thousands, are or will be in heaven because of Paul.
The following statements by the great man in 2 Corinthians 11:25 are (as Pentecostals say) awesome: ďFrom the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
ďIn journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
ďin weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakednessÖ..Ē
If he was boasting, it was of Godís grace.
There isnít much resemblance in Paulís adventures to our no-risk, coffee-and-cookies, donít-offend-anyone Century 21 Christianity. Paul wasnít stoned for giving ear-tickling messages (as many do today). Yet the Apostle was told by God he would get a rough ride, as indeed will anyone right now who will preach the true gospel. It is as unwelcome to the world today as it was in Paulís lifetime.
If we seek an example of Godís people-changing power, Paul is it. Formerly he had persecuted Christians, arrested them, put them in jail. Then one day on the road to Damascus the Lord dealt with him in a most dramatic way. Thatís a rare event, but what Paul did as a born-again Christian is an inspiration for us all.
Second only to the Lord Jesus Christ, he is surely the one to be not only mine, but everyoneís role model, our hero if you will. With the help of Peter, James, Timothy, Barnabus, Stephen and others, he gave us the manual to which we should refer.
The Christian life isnít about getting richer, more comfortable, seeking more blessings, but obeying God; impacting the world outside the church; being a servant and a messenger, as Paul was.
[I'm not in "Private Messenger" so I can't read and reply to your emails sent there. You can reach me at saul2_au at yahoo dot com
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Hey Rod, happy to be the first to read (& obviously also to rate) this! St. Peter & St. Paul are also my favs. & as you said, should be the favs. of all. I pray that more St. Peters & Pauls come up in the world today!