In our world today everything is done so we can look good to others.
People tend to sell their souls so that they can get 10 seconds of fame.
To be someone you are not is one of the most dangerous past times you can ever take on. It will take you down a road; you might not be able to turn around on. However, God has your number and He won’t give up on you.
Although we live very differently than those in the Bible, I have found our need for approval is the same today as it was from the beginning of God’s written Word.
Take for instance the story of Cain and Abel. Cain wanted to be approved of like his brother. However, God saw the motive of their gifts. One gave his very best when the other gave what he wanted and wanted God’s approval for his actions. You could say that Cain had a superficial life. He pretended to be one way but deep inside he was another way.
Look at Saul of Tarsus. When we first meet him in scripture he is like a demon, killing and persecuting God’s followers of Christ in the name of God, standing proudly and fighting battles to secure approval of the Sanhedrin. Oh they were impressed with his fierce efforts. He lived for their approval and their smiles while their affirming gestures fed his pride.
Saul was no different than we are today.
The ladder of religious success was his to climb and that was what he was determined to keep doing. To get in his way could have been deadly. He was going up in status, moving up on a scale, he was passionate and fiercely determined to do it anyway he could.
Saul had a strong resume and if you had been a member of the Sanhedrin looking for an efficient leader to get you where you want to go, then Saul’s name would have surely been at the top of the list.
During Saul’s persistent climb up the religious ladder, God stopped Saul and brought him to his knees. God made him new and set him apart and called him to preach the very Gospel he had tried to silence.
We read in Galatians 1:15-17 where Saul, now Paul deliberately mentions two things he did not do.
First, he didn’t immediately consult with flesh and blood that is with other people. He didn’t go out, seeking others to shape his new understanding. He let people know but simply went to seek God.
Secondly, he didn’t rush to Jerusalem to present himself to the apostles, the very men who had walked with and served alongside Jesus.
These two points would make it clear that Paul’s new understanding came from God Himself.
Specifically, he did not learn from, nor was he commissioned by those who had been apostles before him. It was of utmost importance for Paul that Jesus had directly commissioned him.
He also states in those verses that he went away to Arabia for a time. Although many have speculated as to why he went away, nothing is specifically shared.
For three years, Saul lived somewhere in the desert cut-off from his former manner of life, in solitude, quietness and obscurity.
If he had kept his need for the life before where he may have been addicted to popularity, he lost the urge to pursue it during those years in the desert. If at one time he had become infatuated with his own spiritual significance and his need to puff himself up, it had now all left as he spent time with God Himself.
This is why God needs us to spend time with Him. And God can teach us things unlike the world has ever known. God talks personally to us as we spend time reading and praying and meditating on His Word. Casual reading and praying will not do.
For Saul/Paul it became a three-year crash course in sound doctrine from which he would understand more fully God and His love for all of us.
The conversion of Saul is Salvation at it’s best. But it doesn’t stop there. This is where new life begins for all of us. We cannot neglect this part of our salvation by not studying and praying everyday.
Everything solidified when he went away and learned just who God was and how much He loves us all.
Paul later writes in Philippians 3:7-8:
“But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life].”
“But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ.” (AMP)
What if I told you that the superficial life the world constantly lures you in to live is a trick. It’s a trick to fool you and to not allow you to get where God wants you to go.
The enemy works day and night to keep you so distracted on things that have absolutely no meaning. The enemy worked on Saul but God had a plan and God has a plan for you too.
Superficiality is the curse of our age; the doctrine passes around to convince each of us that we are not enough so we must become something more.
I’ve got news for you. You are already enough and God has a plan for your life that was activated the moment of conception.
The purpose of your life doesn’t have to be a distant dream.
The author and finisher of your faith, who gave you an amazing opportunity when He brought life to you, is waiting to share everything. You cannot receive it if you keep doing the things that keep you unconscious and distracted.
If you struggle with broken relationships such as a divorce or betrayal, or if you have lost a loved one to “death”, then use this opportunity to change “how” you live your life.
Don’t do bad habits or go around singing the blues but see it as an opportunity to go to God, the one who gave you life and who gave you something very important to do.
Study His Word and pray…make that your new habit and shut off the social media.
And live true to yourself. May God encourage you to have faith and trust in Him.