Learn 3 Lessons From The Apostle Paul
If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you'll get the same results. -Tony Robbins
When it comes to being a successful Christian, there are many lessons we can learn from the Apostle Paul. I will highlight three of them:
1. Don't let your past determine your future.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. (Philippians 3:13)
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 tent maker 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. 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 had sought them out to in order to eliminate them. Now, he was fervently espousing the Gospel of that same Jesus.
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.
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).
As a result of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, Paul endured many trials. He was:
- Beaten with rods
- Shipwrecked three times
- Hungry and thirsty
Throughout his trials, Paul's attitude can be summed up by what he said in Philippians 4:4 (NIV): Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice.
3. Live with an eternal perspective.
Therefore we do not lose heart. 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)
This physical world can feel like the only reality, but Paul believed time spent on this earth was just temporary. He looked ahead to the reward.
In fact, Paul said, “For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then will bring me more. (Philippians 1:21 GNT)
Clearly, Paul is calling us to lift our heads and trust that God is bringing about an eternal plan in our lives.
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