Summary: Christian life and ministry getting rough?
When I was a new Christian I wanted to be like Peter and Paul. I wish I had been more specific because I have found that I have a lot of their weaknesses, but I was hoping for their strengths. Everyone has a hero in the Word that they wish they could be like and most of us while we want to be like Jesus usually have another person we are especially fond of since being truly Christlike seems less attainable than being like one of the hired hands. Indeed, while Christ was every bit human the being every bit God as well overwhelms us whereas all the rest of the folks in the Word were just folks that God empowered.
More often than not, we look at all their exploits and put aside their foibles and failings. We also look at the end result of God working in their lives without truly seeing the process or path God took them through. In some ways that may be good in that in our early years after conversion as it might scare the fire out of us or discourage us from seeking to grow if we saw the full picture clearly. The downside is that as God put us through processes and takes us down paths we may still get scared or faint because we do not understand what is happening to us especially if we think that everything for the Christian is supposed to be a primrose path of prosperity and giddy happiness.
I had no idea what I was asking for when I asked to be like Peter and Paul. I was looking at the Day of Pentecost and Mars Hill and missing a lot between and after the mountain top experiences. Peter is definitely a soul brother and I relate to him very well especially the weak side of him. Right after Jesus, Peter is the one I want to meet and hug.
I would love to have the apologetic and polemic skills of Paul. I am not really good at apologetic debate. For me, that is equal to Timothy doing the work of the evangelist. Not my strong suit at all. I am more gifted in the polemic side dealing with doctrine and things inside the faith, but I am no match for Paul. I write expansively like him, but I am not on the best seller lists anywhere like Paul's writings albeit he was just the person the Holy Spirit used to write those books. Odd is it not, that we call a person who does the writing for someone else a ghost writer. In the case of Scripture, it is actually the man that is the ghost writer for it is he that the Holy Ghost is inspiring. English is a wild language at times. No wonder it can be hard to learn and understand.
When we look at Paul at the end of his life and ministry we see a man of great spiritual success though from a human perspective, not well off. Much of his best writing came written from a jail chained to four guards in abject squalor and filth. When he was free to roam and speak neither his stature or style was truly that of a popular speaker especially by our standards. He would have a hard time getting an audience today because he could not ever be on the cover of GQ nor was his speech erudite and polished. Yet with all that going against him he had a great following then and now though he still has some detractors here who are not found of some of his doctrines as they do not fit the culture nor the religious fads of our day. Still, though some love him and some hate him he is still the one of the best read authors and theologians of all time subordinate only to Jesus and John the Baptist in his lifetime. It might even be debatable as to if he was greater than Moses since Paul's influence is greater though both are read in the Church.
He was an awesome man among men even though for much of his ministry he was a wounded man. He was wounded by friend and foe alike. The Jews and pagans hated him. There were preachers preaching who were only doing it to hurt him. My suspicion is that Paul would not ordain them because their hearts were not right so they took advantage of him being in jail and the poor communication of the day to get someone to ordain them or became self-ordained and preached knowing it would get back to him at some point. However they went about it we know it was of strife and envy. It does appear that they at least preached a sound gospel so Paul comforted himself with that fact even though he knew their motives were not pure.