Summary: Looking at the life of Paul we can see seven things that kept him going for God.
By Bro. Aaron Bryan
Paul not only was known to write about endurance, he lived it. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, it was a race to run, in Galatians 6:7-10, a field to sow, Ephesians 6:10-20, an armor to withstand, Philippians 3:12-14, pressing towards the mark, 2 Timothy 2:3-13, it was enduring hardness as a good solider. If there was a common thread to Paul¡¦s ministry it was to ¡§continue in the faith¡¨ (Acts 14:22, 1 Corinthians 16:13, Colossians 1:23, 2:7) which is to say, have a faith that endures.
The easiest thing in the world to do is to quit. Discouragement is lethal because it is ¡K
„h common, in the fact that it happens to everyone,
„h continuous, in that it can¡¦t be stopped or suppressed without help
„h contagious, in that being around those who are discouraged will soon rub off on you.
One of the ways that has helped me in my endurance is to realize Paul¡¦s reasons for endurance. Paul had some very convincing, physical and emotional reasons to quit (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). ¡§¡KIn labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice I was beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; I journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, inperls by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the eas, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.¡¨
He faced the shame of being chiefest of sinners,
the scrutiny of being, challenged by saints,
the suffering at the castigation of saboteurs.
What kept Paul going? Paul had his faults (Romans 7:23-25; 2 Corinthians 10:10), yet he counteracted them through his faith (2 Corinthians 13:3; Galatians 2:20). How did this man, who was just a man, turn his pains in life into praises for his Lord?
Paul¡¦s Ability To Endure Came From A ¡K
#1.) Sense Of Duty: (v1) ¡§Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.¡¨
He realized that how he received mercy was a great price paid by his Savior. Like the woman who washed Jesus¡¦ feet with her hair and tears, Jesus stated ¡§Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.¡¨ (Luke 7:44-47) Paul saw Christ¡¦s sacrifice, knowing he was ¡§cheifest of sinners¡¨ (1 Timothy 1:15), and was compelled by that mercy not to give up. This ministry Paul had the privilege to suffering in was from the payment of all his sins at Calvary¡¦s cross. Realize all that Christ has done for you daily, and you can¡¦t help but serve Him.
#2.) Sincerity On Display: (v2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully: but by nanifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man¡¦s conscience in the sight of God.¡¨
Notice the end of this verse ¡§in the sight of God¡¨. People are not always watching, but God is. He is not only looking at your means and method of service, but also your motivation. Psalms 11:4 says, ¡§¡Khis eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.¡¨ Do you know God is watching? Do you know that He knows your heart, even better than you know it? (1 John 3:20.) Things done for man¡¦s approval are not rewarded by God (Matthew 6:2,5,16) Yet things sincerely for God, ¡§He will reward openly¡¨ (Matthew 6:4,6,18) If you have lost the true reason for your service is to please God, than come back and give him your heart and regain your sincerity in service.
#3.) Struggle With The Devil: (v3-4)
¡§But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of Go, should shine unto them.¡¨
We can take a vacation from God, but the Devil never does. This ¡§father of lies¡¨ (John 8:44) is relentless, even more today, knowing his time is growing shorter till he is chained for a thousand years. People think they can out fox the Fox. If Adam, who only had one commandment, one opportunity, and full brain capacity couldn¡¦t do it, who are we who have many opportinites, and use less than 10% of our brains, think we could be successful? Most think that if you resist the devil, he will flee, but the is heresy. The key phrase is to ¡§submit ourselves to God¡¨ then is the rest of that verse a given victory (James 4:7). God gave inspiration to Paul to write that we submit ourselves to God by ¡§fully putting on his Armor¡¨ not our own (Ephesians 6:10). This is to withstand, thus endure. No armor is mentioned for the backside. Have you turned your back on the Devil thinking he¡¦s not a threat? Then you have been fooled. The Devil cannot lose except through the power of God being a stronghold in your life. This takes enduring faith.