Saturday, February 20, 2010

Whatever Motivated Paul Should Motivate all of us

The church we attend has an online forum where they'll post a question of the week and then discuss it. I love that because it's thought-provoking; better than a blog, in that I receive the input of others rather than just mull over my own thoughts based perhaps on researching writings of others, but often just from personal meditation. One week I was brought to ponder--not as a direct answer to the question, but something of a rabbit trail--what motivated Paul to be such a strong, committed, continual servant of Christ. I had proposed that it was because he had been taken up into heaven, and seen something of what reward awaits us. I thought that was a sufficient reason, and yet since that time I have heard two other proposals. One of these was from a sermon I heard on, in which the pastor speaking attributed Paul's dedication to the powerful nature of his conversion. He had been a Jewish leader, a primary persecutor of the Christians, but Jesus saved him to be an Apostle. This would be such a 180-degree turn that if he only applied the passion that he had before, Paul would still be one of the strongest leaders the Christian Church would ever see...and yet the power of that conversion wasn't the only impact Jesus made to motivate Paul to serve Him so well.
The third possible explanation I found regarding Paul's motivation was in a book, Experiencing the Cross, by Henry Blackaby. The book is full of insights and I'm wanting to read more of his writings. Blackaby attributes Paul's passion to considering himself to have been personally crucified along with Christ...Galatians 2:19-20 "For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Paul stated this various ways which underscore the possibility of that being at least a powerful component of his motivation;
At any rate, seeing how Paul was motivated by any or all of these three things, we should be so motivated as well. He said, in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." I am convinced that Paul knew many things that he could not put into words, but his actions spoke of the thoroughness of his convictions. Whatever it was that motivated him should motivate us, because the things that are true of him are true of us if we belong to Christ: 1) We have experienced a conversion; 2) We hope in things eternal (even though, unlike Paul, for us they are yet unseen) and we know of them because we have the mind of Christ and eternity is written on our hearts; 3) We too have been crucified with Christ to the Law and the power of sin and death. We should know no such thing as a lukewarm Christian. There should be none, we all should be passionate and plunging wholeheartedly into whatever work He has set before us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

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