A Nugget from New Life Network
Scripture for the Day (September 5, 2018)
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
Paul had one of the most dramatic encounters ever with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He was radically changed that day and the days following when Ananias prayed for him to be healed and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). However, even though he was changed from walking in the darkness to walking in the light, he still had a lot to learn. He said he did not immediately confer with flesh and blood but waited three years before he went to Jerusalem to meet with Peter (Galatians 1:16-18). That time was obviously spent learning from the Lord what to do and how to do it.
As we look back on the ministry life of Paul there are four distinguishing traits that were very instrumental in the success of his life and ministry. These same traits are still important today for all of us that want to walk with the Lord.
1. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men (Acts 24:16).
Paul knew that he could not afford to harbor bitterness toward God or man. He had plenty of opportunities to do so but he knew that he had to always shake them off. The snake biting him on the Isle of Melita (Acts 28:1-5) was a perfect example. He could have immediately become bitter at God for allowing a poisonous snake to attack him like that but he did not go there. He shook it off!!!
2. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: (1 Corinthians 14:18).
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:39).
Paul understood the importance of communicating with God in his personal prayer language and he was not shy about it.
3. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthains 12:9).
Paul’s thorn in the flesh (which was from Satan and not from God per 2 Corinthians 12:7) has been debated for centuries. Bottom-line, we all have a thorn in the flesh. None of us are perfect, but God’s grace is sufficient. If nothing else, it is a constant reminder that we need God to overcome and keep the flesh in subjection to the Spirit. It is also another opportunity to not get offended at God.
4. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
Looking back has never been a productive spiritual trait. It did not work for Lot’s wife. Jesus said in Luke 9:62 that no man looking back, after putting his hand to the plow, is fit for the Kingdom. God also told Abraham in Hebrews 11:15 if they were mindful (continuously looking back) on the country they came out of they may have had opportunity to return rather than go to where God was leading.
These four traits served the Apostle Paul very well. They will serve us very well also. We need to make up our minds that we will not be offended or become bitter at God or man regardless of what happens. We need to pray in the Spirit consistently. We need to recognize that God’s grace is sufficient to help us walk through every challenge and obstacle in life. We need to never look back. Looking back, while driving a car or riding a bike, can cause a wreck. It can do the same thing in our spiritual journey. We are to be always moving forward and pressing toward what God has for us and going in the direction He says to go.