We learn much from the Apostle Paul. He wrote in Philippians 3:17 “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” You and I are not the apostle Paul but we can learn much from his faith and his life.
Paul said in Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Like Paul, do not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is powerful and tells one how he can believe and be saved. Paul wanted to be bold in proclaiming the gospel. He asked for prayers in Ephesians 6:19-20 “And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” You also can pray and have others pray that you will be bold in standing up for Christ.
Before he was a Christian, Paul persecuted the church; he put believers in jail and was responsible for the death of others. As a result, he considered himself the chief of sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” While you have not done what Paul did, you also are a sinner. Don’t compare your sin to someone else. Your sin is enough to condemn you to eternal punishment. Appreciate that Christ Jesus came into the world to save you. He forgave your sin. Paul also stated in 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” By the grace of God, you are what you are today. God’s grace should motivate you to serve Him; He loves you so much.
He had compassion for the poor. He was eager to remember the poor. Galatians 2:10 “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.” He would avoid anything that would make his brother stumble. 1 Corinthians 8:13 “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” He had a deep concern for all of the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:28-29 “Besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” Have a deep compassion and concern for your brother and sister in Christ.
When threated with prison and tribulations and even death, he didn’t back down. Acts 20:22-24 “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Don’t let any tribulation or trial cause you to be spiritually weak or cause you to fall away. Finish your race with joy. Don’t even count your life dear to yourself. Eternal life awaits you.
His desire was to gain Christ and attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Forget everything in your past, good or bad. Seek to know Christ and seek to attain to the resurrection from the dead. He considered any problems in this life little compared to the glory God has for us. Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
He fought the good fight and won. 2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” When you come to the end of your live, be able to say that you have successfully fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith.
My encouragement to you is to follow the life of the great apostle Paul. While you and I will not do the great deeds that he did, you and I can have the same attitude and faith that he demonstrated.