Friday, February 24, 2012

Not Ashamed

Who are your heroes? One of my heroes is the Apostle Paul. When I read about his life, conversion, and ministry in The Book of Acts, I am amazed by the transformation God brought about in this man. He looked so good on the outside—from a good family, well educated, and very religious. But by his own admission, he was a person who put his confidence in what he knew, what he did, and the religious system he adhered to. Yet, he gave all that up when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, struck him blind, and called him to be his apostle (see Acts 9). In his state of physical blindness, God opened his eyes to his spiritual blindness and his utter helplessness to save himself or change himself. Paul had an encounter with the living God, and his life was never the same.

As I read his letters, I am struck by his dependence on grace—God accomplishing for him what he could not accomplish for himself. And he never stops talking about the gospel. Can you believe it? He really believed it was good news. That’s why in Romans 1:16-17 he states emphatically, “I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.” Paul lived by faith in the God who loved him. When God chose him, he never looked back and he shared the good news with everyone who would listen.

Paul is a hero and a wonderful example, but I confess that I am keenly aware that I am not Paul. I suspect that most of you feel the same. However, God loves us and he has chosen us too. So I am asking myself how my life reflects confidence and faith in God and the good news of Jesus. I’m examining my life to see whether it reflects whether I am confident in or ashamed of the gospel. I’m thinking of ways that I can cultivate a deeper trust in God and willingly take risks to share what I believe with others. I encourage you to do the same. 

Whom could you begin to pray for this Lenten season, asking God to open a door of opportunity to share the good news of Christ with them?

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