Summary: Paul displayed an attitude which rose above his hard circumstances.
TO LIVE IS CHRIST
Two elderly women were out driving in a large car and both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along they came to an intersection. The stoplight was red but they just went on through. The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself "I must be losing it, I could have sworn we just went through a red light."
After a few more minutes they came to another intersection and the light was red again and again they went right through. This time the woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was really concerned that she was losing it.
She was getting nervous and decided to pay very close attention to the road and the next intersection to see what was going on.
At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was definitely red and they went right through and she turned to the other woman and said,
"Mildred! Did you know we just ran through three red lights in a row! You could have killed us!" Mildred turned to her and said, "Oh, am I driving?"
Paul knew where his life was going, what was most important.
• Live in a day when I am afraid the body of Christ is unaware or unfocused on what really matters in the life of a Christian.
A Christian leader once took a Russian friend to see a World Series baseball game. At the end of the game, he asked the Russian what he thought of the game. The Russian answered that he had never before seen such first-class dedication to a secondary cause.
• Many a believer’s life could be described as having first-class dedication to secondary causes.
• The problem is not a lack of enthusiasm, but a lack of enthusiasm for the right things. We are full of enthusiasm for our favorite sport and team.
• We get excited about certain hobbies, opportunities, and events. But in many cases we are giving first-class dedication to secondary causes.
Paul was not a man that gave first-class dedication to secondary causes but he gave first-class dedication to a first-class cause. The concentration of his life was on the supernal and the dedication of his life was for the eternal.
DREAD THAT CHRIST WOULD BE DISHONORED! 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything,
Paul spoke of his "earnest expectation" and his "hope." Words used in secular writing of a watchman who kept looking into the darkness for the first gleam of a distant light. The words speak of looking away from what may be right at hand and totally concentrating on another object.
• Paul was constantly watchful that his life would not let God’s purpose down.
1Cor. 9:26-27, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainty; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." The word means "worthless, unapproved, rejected."
The picture of an athlete that is disqualified for an event. Brazil credit card
Paul’s great fear of failure was not only the shame that it would bring to his ministry, but also the shame it would bring on his Master.
King David’s great sin marred his life and marked his name. But even worse was the dishonor it brought to God.
2 Samuel 11:27: "But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD." We also read that when the Prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin, he declared in 2 Samuel 12:14: "Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies Of the LORD to blaspheme..."
DETERMINED THAT CHRIST BE SHARED! but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
• Paul desired that his ways would be pleasing to God. We often forget that our ways prepare the way for our words.
Burning in Paul’s heart was this divine pronouncement and it had to be proclaimed everywhere he could.
• We don’t realize the impact our lives could begin to have.
Wendy’s commercial, "Where’s the beef?" The little lady that asked the questions was Clara Peller.
A producer of commercials, was filming a scene in a Chicago barbershop when he discovered that nobody had hired a manicurist. He sent an assistant to a local beauty shop to find one and she returned with Clara Peller, a manicurist who had worked in a nearby salon for 35 years. She looked at him and said gruffly: "How ya doin’, honey?" He realized he had found a "natural."