One item we should make very clear at the beginning of this blog is that the sufferings Paul was going to endure were not because he persecuted the church. There is something inherent in “carrying” the name of Jesus “before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15) that in one way or another, will require suffering. Such public witness to the Name before those who hated that name would evoke a reaction – persecution and suffering.
As we will see later in Luke’s account, being identified with Jesus was a commitment Paul made that over-shadowed everything else in his life and in the world. It should not be at all surprising that Paul makes this stunning comment to the Ephesian elders; “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself”. Why did Paul have such a strong, selfless view of his life? You can be sure of one thing, his personal encounter with the “I AM” transformed his mind and heart in a very dramatic way. He was now living for a different purpose; “if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). That is all wrapped up in the Name!
This is a good place for you to pause and ask yourself some soul-searching questions.
· Am I living my life more for myself than for the Lord?
· What values drive my decisions and energize my life?
· Have I had a personal encounter with the Lord such that it changed my view of everything? If not, what is hindering me from such an encounter?
· Am I willing for God to change my values, my goals and my purpose by the Holy Spirit?
This moment may be the most defining moment you have ever experienced if you are serious about letting God give you His purpose for living.
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