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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Question (05/24/12)

TITLE: Paul's Conundrum
By Earl G Donaldson


Paul’s Conundrum

The Apostle Paul understood as perhaps no one before him what Jesus really meant when he said “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Paul was struggling with what every believer who tries to follow Jesus in “the way” must struggle: the need to free himself from the “old man” (Romans 6:6). There was a time when this now unwanted fellow traveler was necessary, but no longer.

When human beings first came into existence, every day was a struggle. “Winner takes all” was the only game in town. Not only did these people have to contend with other people who wanted their stuff but with wild animals, insects, the need for food, shelter and clothing and the destructive elements of a strange and hostel land. They needed all the mental and physical self-protective devices they could muster. They had nothing but their own personal drive, their ego and their determination and of course––the “old man”––and they did it. They survived, because God created them to survive. And they multiplied, and they organized and they became a world of progressive although varied and defensive cultures. These groups of people were regulated by necessity, natural law {the Law of Moses), superstition, fate and of course force. Progress was slow.

And then, “in these last days” (Hebrews 1:2) along came Jesus, the Savior of the World. Jesus introduced a higher standard and the possibility of abundant living: a lifestyle free from fear, defensive necessity, envy, greed, hatred, emotional dependency and all the other negative attributes of the carnal mind. Paul made the effort to rise to the level of the Religion of Jesus, but he couldn’t do it. He took up his cross and did good things, but as he tells us in Romans, chapter seven, he fell far short. Paul desperately needed help. He cried out in dismay, “The good that I would I do not: but the evil I would not, that I do” (19). And then he asked the question. “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death” (24)?

Praise the Lord for chapter eight. Paul found the answer. Jesus brought into our world the power to remove the “old man” from the human condition, and he used his replacement, the Holy Spirit, to provide Paul with the answer he so desperately needed. “The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (2).

Paul was free, and that same freedom is available to believers today. The Holy Spirit can completely remove the “old man” and create a new creation. Old things will have passed away. All things will have become new (II Corinthians 5:17).

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Member Comments
Member Date
Leola Ogle 06/01/12
Paul is one of my favorite Bible characters. This was a great devotional entry. You did a good job. God bless!
Camille (C D) Swanson 06/02/12
Thank you for this devotional about Paul, chosen by God...who did amazing things in Jesus' name.

Nicely done. God Bless~
Hiram Claudio06/04/12
Solid devotional teaching and a messageof hope and freedom. I liked taking a look at Paul from the struggles he went through and thus making him feel more like us instead of distant. Good piece of writing here!