David Ettinger

If Only All Christians Had Paul’s Passion

Discussion in 'Blogs & Columns' started by David Ettinger, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. David Ettinger

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    A Glistening Example
    If there was ever a man more passionate about his Christian faith than the apostle Paul, I can’t imagine how. Take, for instance, this proclamation of devotion to Christ: “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). Raise your hand if you can say the same thing. Me neither.

    Such a declaration – this glistening example of Christ-adoration – cannot simply be made. It must be felt. It must be lived. It must be at the core of one’s being. And for Paul, it was. This is the same man who said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Translation: Living in this mortal body means expending every ounce of energy on telling the world about Christ. Death, however, is better, because it means living eternally with Christ.

    If only I had such passion for the Gospel. If only you had such passion. If only all Christians had Paul’s passion!

    The Circumstances
    Paul had spent the previous three years in Ephesus (Acts 20:31) and was now preparing to sail to Jerusalem. In so doing, he knew that “prison and hardships are facing me” (v. 23). It was following this sobering disclosure that Paul said: “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” For Paul, preaching the Gospel was akin to eating, breathing, and sleeping.

    Such was Paul’s passion that even if his own imprisonment (and conditions in Roman prisons were ghastly) meant promoting the Gospel, the sooner he was shackled, the better. He writes:

    Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me [imprisonment] has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear (Philippians 1:12-14).

    The Romans wanted Paul silenced. Instead, his incarceration helped spread the Gospel, a scenario he would joyfully act out every time. Paul never sought a life of ease, only the spread of the Gospel. If ultimately it meant death (and it would), then death it was.

    How Much Do You “Weigh”?
    If you could be weighed on a “Paul scale,” one that determined your commitment to Christ and the Gospel, how much would you weigh? I realize this may not be a fair question as neither you nor I are Paul, nor has God commissioned us in the same way he has Paul.

    Note, we can’t weigh ourselves to determine how we compare to Paul, but I believe the Lord would have us do some self-evaluation. He is not asking us to whip or castigate ourselves, but to prayerfully consider our lives. How much time are we apportioning to pursuing God? How much sacrificing are we willing to do on God’s behalf? How much of our earnings are going into His work? How much time in His Word are we spending? Inversely, how much time are we devoting to worldly pursuits?

    Regarding the Paul scale, I don’t believe our “weight” can be measured in the physical realm; it must be done in the spiritual. It’s true that our physical actions reflect our spiritual commitment, but even this is deceptive. There are many people who live in the guise of Christendom who aren’t saved who do great things in Christ’s name; they are spiritually dead.

    Seek Passion
    I hope I’m not doing a balancing act on the faith-works tightrope; this isn’t my intention. But when I look at my life, and then measure it against what I read in the Bible, I know that my love, passion, and commitment for Christ are not what they should be – and this especially in light of our central text. It is worth looking at again: “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

    Am I at that place yet? Are you at that place yet? I imagine the answer “no” applies to about 98 percent or more of believers. I certainly intend no condemnation by this statement, especially considering that I put myself at the top of the list!

    Every day brings the possibility of new hope, new attitudes, and new growth. Perhaps this is the day when you and I determine to serve Christ and grow in Him as never before. If this is your desire, then let us in humility and faith ask God to give us Paul’s passion for Christ, that we might aspire to spend the rest of our days “testifying to the good news of God’s grace”!
    Read more by David Ettinger: https://ettingerwriting.wordpress.com/
     
  2. totallylovedbyGOD
    totallylovedbyGOD
    wonderful david
    David Ettinger likes this.
  3. David Ettinger
    David Ettinger
    Thank you!