Devotional: ‘A Feast Few Will Ever Experience’

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Whenever life is trying to get me down – I pause and think about the Apostle Paul. Here was a man that many would say was the greatest Christian who ever lived; yet scripture teaches us that much of his ministry was conducted out of a prison cell. Rarely did Paul ever experience the recognition and praise that he receives today. Scripture teaches us that he was criticized over everything from his ability to preach to his physical appearance.[1] We learn also from scripture that more than once someone tried to take his life. [2] There were no awards given to Paul while he was here on earth. He suffered much simply because he tried to live godly in Christ Jesus.

But Paul didn’t let his difficulty discourage him.  Consider what he wrote to the Philippians-

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12) 

The things that had happened to Paul included beatings, shipwreck and imprisonment. [3] How many of us, when experiencing similar circumstances, might be tempted to accuse God of being unfair? How many of us might become discouraged and want to quit?  But Paul didn’t. Paul did not see his difficulties as being obstacles, but rather as being opportunities. Scripture teaches us that Paul used his pain as a platform to preach the gospel.

“As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice…” (Php 1:13-18) 

Whenever you and I become weary and want to throw ourselves a pity-party, we should pause and consider the attitude of the Apostle Paul.

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[1] 2 Corinthians 10:10

[2] Acts 21:31

[3] 2 Corinthians 11:23-28

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