Lately for the last months I often wonder what kind of zeal did Paul the apostle had to commit his life devotedly to Christ?
Surely he met Christ personally on his way to persecute the early Christians at that time, yet many believers who also had personally met Christ whether through a vision or visitation or other forms of personal encounter yet they did not possess the similar kind of boldness and love toward Christ as much as Paul had…? (I don’t…)
Love that drives him to state that all worldly things were considered for him as trash.
Love that brings him to persevere during severe persecution and hardships.
Devotion and commitment to fix his eyes on the above and eternal things.
Why his eyes can be so fixed unto Christ? Why he can very much value Christ’s sacrifice at the cross and even rejoice and be joyful in the suffering and death as Christ’s followers?
What kind of vision he had?
All these questions and many others are in my mind many times and struck me in awe, just as much as the question of how much and what kind of love that make Jesus Son of God persevered and be wiling to sacrifice Himself at the cross not for the righteous, but for sinners, for us, for me…?
Then this afternoon as I read in Acts 9 story of Saul’s conversion to Paul, I was surprised to see what God said or had intended for Paul’s life calling… (God said this to Ananias as He sent him to Paul to place his hands and restore Paul’s sight after Paul personally met Christ on the way to Damascus eager to persecute the early Christians)
“This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kinds and to the people of Israel.
I will show him how much he must suffer for My name” (v.15-16)
I was kind of bewildered as I read the last words. “I will show Paul how much he must suffer for My name”
God did not assign Paul for a mission that will bring glory and riches. Not in this world.
Since at the beginning God called Paul ‘to suffer for My name’. To suffer.
Now, who’d like to receive that kind of benediction?
Yet never once Paul was bitter toward God. Somehow, he sees that his calling to suffer is a privilege to him, more like a winning prize!
He was proud to be called by God, to be chosen, even chosen to suffer for God’s name.
Maybe you can offer me several answers to my many questions above. But I pray for God to reveal them personally to me so I may understand and to not only ‘know’. I’m longing to see what Paul sees. However, I am hesitant that I could be as ‘strong’ as he was when facing life hardships.. I don’t know if I can handle ‘the cost’ that I may have to endure in order to have a vision like what Paul had and to be zealous like he was…
Only God knows how to deal about this matter in my heart…
For now, I’m just sharing my ‘adoration’ of Paul’s vision, commitment, boldness, and zealous toward Christ. And also to those ‘present-Pauls’ (missionaries) out there around the world, who are more than willing to suffer and be persecuted for Christ in spreading out the Gospel and in reaching and bringing thousand of souls toward receiving salvation in Christ Jesus.