I’ve often thought of this guy, Paul, in the Bible. I mean talk about the real deal.
Here’s a guy who had everything going for him. He had the absolute best education money could buy. He was an up and rising star. His future was unstoppable. That is, of course, until Jesus stepped into his life. From that moment on, Paul’s life was completely changed, out of control, and governed by the Master.
I’ve often thought of those who have had the opportunity to grow up in a Christian home and then later decide, because they’re adults now and can think for themselves, they don’t need God. Or somehow the things in the Bible are not correct or applicable to their lives. They’ve come to believe that the Bible is just the thoughts of men, and their parents and grandparents religion is fruitless – a waste of time. They’re free thinkers and have life under control, so they don’t need God, nor do they need a Savior. And then there are those who believe the Bible is just another scheme of some kind to manipulate people.
But if that’s true, why would a guy, like Paul, give up everything that was rosy and shiny, for the life he was living? You know, the imprisonment? the beatings? the ridicule? Why live life on the hard road for something that was made up, when he could have had easy street for the rest of his life? Why would he go through all the pain and suffering for a phony religion? Why? Unless it was all true.
Paul wrote this to a group of believers in the city of Rome,
“Jesus was kind to me and chose me to be an apostle, so that people of all nations would obey and have faith. You are some of those people chosen by Jesus Christ.” — Romans 1:5-6
Then he says,
“God has seen how I never stop praying for you, while I serve Him with all my heart and tell the Good News about His Son.” — Romans 1:9
“we can encourage each other by the faith that is ours.” — Romans 1:12
“I want to win followers to Christ,” — Romans 1:13
“I must tell the Good News to everyone.” — Romans 1:15
Paul just didn’t believe the Good News, he lived the Good News. He just didn’t have a casual religion, he had a lifestyle faith. Jesus had totally invested His life into Paul’s life, therefore Paul was going to invest his life into everyone else’s life.
That’s what he meant by, “we can encourage each other by the faith that is ours.”
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today
If you’re a believer, ask yourself, “what am I doing with my faith?” Maybe it’s time to invest it in someone. Someone in your life might need a little encouragement. Put your faith to work.
Help me be an encourager for You as You have encouraged me. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.