To know the Lord Jesus Christ…is to live for Him. And in knowing Him…we will become more and more like Him, for we conform ourselves to His image. Knowing the Lord though is a life long journey of dying daily to our old self and deliberately becoming more like Him. But in the end, when people look at us, they won’t see us…they’ll only see Jesus.
In Philippians 2:13 it says, “For it is God Who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” The Lord has a specific plan and purpose for each one of us. He takes our gifts, talents, and passions…which are totally unique to just us, and executes a perfect plan for our life. Our job is to be ever cognizant of His leading, listening to that still small voice, and following the path laid out before us.
The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in his flesh…some chronic, painful condition that plagued him continually. And even though he had prayed three times for the Lord to take it – it remained. This was the same Paul who preformed extraordinary miracles, (Acts 19:11)…cast out evil spirits, (Acts 16:18)…and raised people from the dead, (Acts 20:10). But the prayers of his own healing went unanswered. Now many of us would react very badly if we had a great Ministry but were unable to be healed personally of some very visible disease. But Paul didn’t allow it to make him bitter, or doubt his worth. Rather, he looked at it from the viewpoint of his dependence on the Lord and his need for humility. For he writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.” Paul gained his strength through his weakness…for God in His infinite wisdom gave Paul what he needed, not what he wanted.
In this upwardly mobile society, we move about a lot. Sometimes out of necessity, sometimes for pleasure…and there’s times we find ourselves in places that are different, strange, and unlike what we’re accustomed to…and we feel uncomfortable…longing for our home. As Believers, we’re foreigners here on Earth…for our citizenship is in Heaven. (Phil. 3:20) It’s no wonder then that we feel conflicted, uneasy and awkward…we’re just visitors here!
You are still running your race. You are still fighting the good fight of faith. So forget about the mistakes you made yesterday and instead reach for the goal before you…and you will find it.
Yes, Paul did have a “captive” audience to preach to…soldiers, guards, and other prisoners. But his example and love of Jesus shone through the dismal and wretched conditions. Paul simply loved people and built bridges of encouragement and trust with anyone he came in contact with.