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Recognition of your God Given Purpose Part 2
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THE APOSTLE PAUL
The Apostle Paul [Saul, as he was known then] was a religious advocator of Judaism and a relentless persecutor of Jesus Christ and very committed to both causes. The Bible accounts that Saul, watched and approved the stoning and death of Stephen. Stephen was a Jewish man who accepted Christianity and was said to be ‘full of faith and of Holy Spirit’ (Act 6v5). He lived outside Israel and Jesus disciples gave him responsibility to take care of widows and those in needs (Acts 6v1-5).
Jesus met Saul on his way to Damascus to continue his quest to persecute Christians. ‘As he travelled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing me?” And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do’ Acts 9 v3-6 (AMP).
After his confrontation with Jesus, Saul [Paul] gave no further thought to his conversion. He embraced his new conviction as his God-given purpose to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He further changed his name from Saul to Paul as he knew his commission was to go and preach to the Gentiles. Saul was a popular Jewish name and the name Paul meaning small or humble, was a Latin name widely accepted amongst the Gentiles.
Paul considered himself small and unworthy of the commission he was given, but he still carried out his purpose. He spoke with humility ‘For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God's church. 1 Corinth 15v9 (NLT) Paul further wrote to Timothy saying ‘I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has granted me [the needed] strength and made me able for this, because He considered me faithful and trustworthy, putting me into service [for this ministry], even though I was formerly a blasphemer [of our Lord] and a persecutor [of His church] and a shameful and outrageous and violent aggressor [toward believers]. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. The grace of our Lord [His amazing, unmerited favour and blessing] flowed out in superabundance [for me, together] with the faith and love which are [realized] in Christ Jesus’ 1Tim 1v12-14 (AMP).
I am of the opinion that Jesus wanted a man who was committed, full of conviction and relentless to his cause to lead the early Christian congregations to salvation. Paul was put into prison countless times where he continued his purpose through letter writing. At the end of his time Paul felt he had fulfilled his God-given purpose. In his last letter to Timothy, he stated ‘For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure [from this world] is at hand and I will soon go free. I have fought the good and worthy and noble fight, I have finished the race, [and] I have kept the faith [firmly guarding the gospel against error]. In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (AMP)......
A MODEL FOR US TO FOLLOW
As Christians we are expected to follow the model Jesus Christ has set for us to live. The Evangelist John [Jesus much-loved disciple] wrote at 1 John 2:4-6 (CEB) ‘The one who claims, “I know him,” while not keeping his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in this person. But the love of God is truly perfected in whoever keeps his word. This is how we know we are in him. The one who claims to remain in him ought to live in the same way as he lived’.
We have been given Holy Scriptures for teaching, reproving and encouragement and most importantly to show love and support to one another in the Body of Christ. Jesus was specific in what He required us to do as His followers, at John 15 v15-17(ISV) He states ‘I don’t call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. But I’ve called you friends, because I’ve made known to you everything that I’ve heard from my Father. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. I have appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last; [so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. I am giving you these commandments so that you may love one another’.
Our universal assignment is to ‘make disciples of all nations’ as Jesus commissioned us to do at Matt28v19-20 (NIV). We all have gifts that some of us don’t even recognise (1 Corinth 12 v3-27), but for those who do, it is expected that we use them for the Glory of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these gifts are Spiritual. Paul writes: ‘We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful’ Romans 12:6-8 (CEB) Our God-given purposes will embrace our spiritual gift.
RECOGNISING MY GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE
As a child I had a speech impediment [stuttering], but that did not stop me from singing. My parents were devoted Christians, so going to church was the main focus of my life. I remember at 4 years old I wrote my first song ‘When I look up to Jesus, I see plenty things when I look’. I wrote it down in what I saw then, as joined-up writing and proudly presented it and sang to my parents. Brutally as I saw it then, they made me go up on the platform in Church to sing it accompanied by my older sister. Circumstances in life lead me to be away from my parents and when they separated writing became my leisure activity; it then became my passion. As an adult I wrote for people passionately, winning various court cases, Immigration High court hearings, Rent Tribunal cases, regaining payments for defected retail items, Bank charges wavered and many more to name but a few. I did not know then about my God-given purpose, I was an advocator of justice, used my Bible as an anchor and wrote countless prayer journals. With the internet boom, I now write on Christian websites, tweet and WhatsApp spiritual words of encouragement every day. At the beginning of 2015 I began attending a weekly prayer meeting that has inspired me enormously. My spiritual life has elevated to another level and my spiritual eyes have been opened. Since then I began reading books that revealed to me ‘my future is in my hands’ and read scriptures that I was profoundly drawn to (Deut: 28v8 & 12). I am lead by God’s Spirit to accept my passion ‘with writing’ as my God-given purpose. I sincerely believe if everyone recognises their God-given purpose as their passion, they will resonate see truth in the words of the Psalmist ‘Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart’ Psalm 37:4 (ESV).
Written by: Eyvonne Black
Bibles ~ Translations /Versions used:
AMP ~ Amplified Bible
ASV ~ American Standard Version
CEB ~ Common English Bible
ERV ~ Easy-to Read Version
ESV ~ English Standard Version
ISV ~ International Standard Version
NIV ~ New International Version
NKJV ~ New King James Version
NLT ~ New Living Translation
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