Nobody leaves a legacy by living for themselves. I wish that weren’t true, but I’ll come back to this thought in a minute. We learn in this week’s devotional passage that the apostle Paul’s legacy became the vast multitudes he won to Christ. He was God’s chosen man to carry the message to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Paul lived his life a changed man! God helped him along the way with many miracles and Paul was able to plant churches in almost every city of Asia Minor and Greece, which was the very heart of the known world. He was passionate and relentless in his efforts to expand the Christian faith.
However, Paul’s work was not without extreme challenges and setbacks. Everywhere he went he was a hunted man. The Jews plotted to murder him and he was eventually beheaded. Paul was continually challenged with setbacks and discouragements, several of which are mentioned in Acts chapters 20-28 which covers the last 10 years of Paul’s life. In all of this Paul, while being a hunted man, was relentless in seeking to do God’s will no matter his circumstances. When he was in Rome he wrote, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” During your moments of discouragement and setbacks remember Paul and challenge yourself to stop feeling sorry for yourself, look at your options and get a determined desire to learn to be content with what you cannot control and move forward with a fresh vision for what you can control and do through Christ’s strength.
Nobody leaves a legacy by living for themselves. Paul made the most of his circumstances. If he was with an individual he shared the gospel, if he was in front of a large group, he shared the gospel. While in prison he taught the gospel. While on a boat he proclaimed the gospel. As he traveled for over a year, he collected and delivered a great offering for the poor Christians. With fresh eyes he saw his challenging circumstances as opportunities and looked for resources where there seemed to be none. He would develop and use his resources in ways that inspired others to seek God. This was the thread that was sewn into every area of his life. He continually moved forward with a fresh vision for his remaining years, regardless of the persecution. You can too. Access your challenging situation. Start where you are and work with whatever resources you have available and perhaps you will find better ones as you move forward.
Being an educated student of the Old Testament, I wonder if Paul reflected on 2nd Chronicles 20:17. “ You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your position, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” Sometimes life is hard. While you are waiting and learning to be content remember to believe that God is working. Where are you continually being challenged or set back? Perhaps this is happening that the work of God might be displayed. As the new year approaches, consider how you can be content with what you can’t control and move forward with a fresh vision for what you can control.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the rock eternal. “ Isaiah 26:3-4
Father, I pray that the work of God might be displayed through my difficult situation and as a result many will be drawn to You. Please be with the Lall’s mission work in Mid-India and the short-term mission teams going out in 2018. In Jesus name, Amen
Today’s post was written by Beth Holland.
Beth Holland lives to make a difference that will encourage, inspire and impact lives for eternity. She loves to write, travel, read and work on significant projects. You can often find her spending time with her family at local parks, museums or the beach. Being the mother of two grown children, son Micah (soon to be married to Alyssa) and daughter Ashley Elizabeth and married for over 30 years to the love of her life, Dan, is what she is most thankful for. She can be found on Sunday mornings at Real Life Christian Church | Kaley Campus.