And when they came to him, he said to them:“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
If someone you know had to describe you, what one or two words would they use first? Would it be a description of a job, your family or a hobby of yours? Would they use words like “he’s a great father”, “He’s an engineer”, or “he’s a runner.’? My guess is that everyone Paul knew and met would describe him as “a Christian”.
Often times we are convenient Christian. We act one way on Sunday, a different way on Friday nights. We have our church friends, our work friends and our social friends. Would they all describe us in the same manner? If not, why is there a difference? Are we not “all in” or totally committed to the Lord’s will?
These verses spoke to me to reinforce that:
- Spiritual life is not a hobby or weekend activity.
- We must be consistent to be truthful and to help others believe.
- We cannot be afraid of any potential consequences of following God will.
- While you are trying to bring people to Christ, others will be trying to pull them away.
Chapter 20 is an example of how Paul lived his life for God’s purpose. He was all in. His spiritual life was not a hobby or just a weekend event. He knew his mission, his purpose and he was committed to the course regardless of the pain and suffering. He acted the same way at all times and with all people.
Paul provides several methods to help guide us.
- He was consistent in his methods and his message (v18)
- He was present (v 18)
- Taught the word, the whole word not just the easy parts (v20)
- Knew there would be hardships and trials (v23)
- Taught the word to everyone. (v 20)
Paul knew that his job was to spread the Word but that it is was a personal decision to accept it. Like bringing a horse to water, you can’t force them to drink. This should not discourage us to do what we are called to do. We must be ready and equipped to share and spread the Gospel. To do so, however, we must be consistent in our “message”. Our message includes everything we say and everything we do. If our actions don’t match our words, we send out an inconsistent message and do not bring honor to God.
One of the best ways to remain consistent is to stay in the word by studying and understanding how to apply it, attending journal groups to hear others perspectives, serving on Sundays, seeking opportunities to share the word with others and being strong enough to defend it when necessary.
Lord, help me to keep you first in my heart. Help me to deliver a consistent message of Your love, Your forgiveness and of Your grace. Help us to understand how we can be a modern day “Paul” to spread the Gospel to those we meet with a focused, purposeful message, mindful that our actions and words define us. Help us to have a spirit of boldness, not fearful of any consequences that may occur by speaking the Truth.