This was originally published in March 2010 and was meant to be part of a ten part series. However only four were published, so now we are returning to finish was we started.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (1 Timothy 4:7, NIV)
Paul had an amazing life. He went all over most of the Roman empire, preaching and ministering to people. He wrote a large part of the new testament and is credited with bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul actually started his religious career a Pharisee, who went from town to town in ancient Israel stirring up hate against the Christians in that town. As a matter of fact the bible tells the story of Stephen, a young man who was killed for his faith. The bible says that a man named Saul held the coats of the men so they would not get in the way as they stoned Stephen. Then that man Saul went on his way to Damascus, where Jesus met him on the road and struck him blind. He continued along his way to Damascus and prayed and fasted for three days until Jesus sent a man named Ananias to pray for him and remove the scales from his eyes. From that point on Paul traveled around the world preaching Jesus.
It was never easy for Paul though. Starting his ministry was difficult, considering that his reputation for killing Christians was well known. It is never recorded that he was slow or cautious in speech, and it got him in a lot of trouble. Paul had to be lowered down the wall of the first city that he is recorded to have ministered to. They wanted to kill him. Paul had several ships sink out from under him. Paul was deserted by most of his friends. He was bitten by a poisonous snake. He was flogged, beaten, spit upon, and insulted by members of his own country. Paul never had it easy. He was always working, always traveling, always giving of himself to the people that needed the gospel in their lives.
What was it about Paul that made him so impactful and so successful? He persevered, kept the faith, and loved Jesus his whole life. Paul remained humble, he never took things to seriously. It is never recorded that he railed against anyone who beat or whipped him. Paul just kept going, he never slowed down. He always kept his eyes focused on Jesus, and he understood that true contentment and joy were only found in Him.