Just felt like sharing this.
Last week I had to preach on Wednesday night. I had been in prayer and God had led me to Acts 20:24 where Paul emphatically says: "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
It seemed that God wanted to show me how unaffected Paul was by the afflictions, temptations, suggestions of men, and threats to his life. The story leading up to Paul's declaration is summed up in this. Paul came to Ephesus, the Ephesians were steeped in idolatry and goddess worship, especially with the goddess Diana. And for roughly 3 years, Paul stayed and preached Jesus Christ to everyone he could. He debated, preached, taught, started up assemblies and was so effective, that the business of making idols (which was formerly a quite productive trade) was being heavily affected. So the Silversmiths get together and start up a riot. Inciting the city, they grab a couple of Paul's disciples, Paul tries to go in among the mob, his disciples keep him out, and finally someone calms the crowd. Paul then feels it's time to go to Jerusalem, actually he says the Spirit is leading him there. So as he's addressing the Ephesian elders, he tells them that he doesn't know what's gonna happen to him when he goes back to Jerusalem, he mentions "bonds" and "afflictions" and then follows it up with, "But none of these things move me, nor do I consider my life dear to me." We must also remember that Paul suffered greatly for the gospel. He was whipped 5 times, beaten with rods 3 times, stoned once, shipwrecked 3 times, lost at sea a day and a night, robbed, mugged, in hunger, in thirst, naked, under attack by heathens/false brethren/his own countrymen, poor, aching, under stress from keeping the church's straight, being sought to be killed, and don't forget his "thorn in the flesh" (this is recorded in 2 Corinthians 11 & 12). And despite all these afflictions and sufferings, Paul could say; "None of these things move me."
Just felt like sharing this.
Furthermore, it was Paul who said:
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Paul was unmoved by afflictions, trials, friend's leaving him ("Demas has left me... only Luke is with me") yet Paul was not totally unmovable. Apparently, the only thing that moved Paul was God. In his letters, you read of him telling the church that he'd like to be able to come to them, but it's not in his power. His reason? If the Spirit leads, allows, he'd do such and such, but if not, then he wouldn't. Paul was moved only by God. And for this reason, everything that the world, his own flesh and Satan (Jesus I know and Paul I know...") threw at him was ineffective. That's why God used him so mightily. He couldn't be manipulated by anything but God.
And as much as this encouraged me to realize, God wanted to show me more. I was then led to the passages where Jesus prayed in the Garden just prior to the arrest and crucifixion. And here it was as if Jesus said the same thing Paul did in Acts 20:24. Here is where Jesus came face to face with the suffering, pain, sin, separation, torture, humiliation, rejection, afflictions, etc. And yet, he ends his prayer with a "not my will but thine." and walks straight into the arms of the band sent to arrest Him. It's as if Jesus looked at the cross, the pain, the suffering, the rejection, the torture, the separation and says; "none of these things move me, neither do I consider my life too dear to me." This blew me away holyground. Paul was unmoved by anything but God. Jesus was unmoved by anything... but... me.
It hit me like a ton of bricks and at the same time it makes us feel so loved of God.
I did a search on the word "move/moved" in relation to Christ and time and time again, I found scriptures that said; "And Jesus saw the multitude and was moved...", "and when He saw the multitude, He was moved...", "and He, seeing the leper was moved," it went on and on. The bible clearly reveals that what moved Christ was... people. Us... Me...You...
So how do you keep a man (Paul) from getting to the only thing that moves him? And how do you keep a god (God) from getting to the only thing that moves Him?
you don't. It's impossible to keep them apart. Nothing else matters to them. Including their own lives. Jesus loved us to death, through death, and through the resurrection. If we can, like Paul, get our goal, focus, priority, finish line on Christ and nothing else. We too can be meet Him.
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." says Paul
Thanks for reading HG,
Yeah. Good Ol' Paulie.