3 Powerful Lessons We Can Learn From The Apostle Paul
As Tony Robbins said, "If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you'll achieve the same results."
We can agree that the Apostle Paul achieved extraordinary results. Copying three of his actions will enable us to achieve the same results:
1. Don't let your past determine your future.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. (Philippians 3:13 NIV)
One of Satan’s most effective weapons is to use our past against us. He will lead us to having thoughts such as "I've made too many mistakes for God to love me" or “My past disqualifies me from serving God”. However, as indicated by the Apostle Paul’s life, our past mistakes do not determine our future.
Saul, which is Paul’s given name, was born into a Jewish family in Tarsus (Turkey). Although he was a tentmaker by trade, he was most noted for his hatred of Christians. He believed the teachings of Jesus violated Mosaic Law and zealously harassed, and even jailed, anyone who followed those teachings.
The first scriptural mention of Saul is found in Acts 7:58, as he was a bystander watching his fellow Jews stone St. Stephen, the first christian martyr, to death. An aggressive persecutor of Christians in Jerusalem, Saul sought and received permission from the high priest to proceed to Damascus for the purpose of imprisoning more followers of Christ.
However, on the Damascus road Saul encountered Jesus and immediately responded to his calling and gave up his lifestyle to follow him. After being baptized, and changing his name to Paul, he set out to spread the news of Jesus.
Paul’s sudden change confused those around him, because he was known as one who not only hated Christians, but went about seeking them out to eliminate those individuals he genuinely considered to be breaking Jewish law.
He had been transformed from despising the followers of Jesus into fervently espousing the Gospel of that same Jesus. No one could have anticipated this conversion; it is one of the great miracles of mankind.
Because of Paul’s persuasion, Christianity would become even more widespread.
Paul would spend the rest of his life going from country to country and town to town proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, organizing and encouraging Christians to be resolute followers of Jesus, and nonbelievers to open their hearts to Christ, repent and be baptized.
He would become known as the Apostle of the Gentiles (non-Jews) and his travels, letters and teaching changed the world.
Often in trouble, Paul was confronted, jailed (though angels rescued him), Despite all the dangers he encountered, Paul never faltered or failed his God.
In the end, he would be taken to Rome as a prisoner and be beheaded for his teachings.
2. Be content, despite your circumstances.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11–13, NIV).
While spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, Paul was physically abused and repeatedly endangered and harassed for preaching the message he had previously attacked. He suffered:
- Beating with rods
Despite these hardships, Paul's response was: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4 NIV) In fact, in the book of Philippians Paul mentioned "joy" or "rejoice" sixteen times.
3. Maintain an eternal perspective.
Therefore we do not lose hert. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16 - 18 NIV)
This physical world can feel like the only reality, but Paul believed time spent on this earth was only temporary. He looked forward to being with Jesus.
In fact, Paul said, “For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then will bring me more." (Philippians 1:21 GNT)
Paul calls on us to trust that God bringing about an eternal plan in our lives.
I challenge you heed to Paul’s lessons and, as James 1:22 (TLB) says: And remember, it is a message to obey, not just listen to.