Paul was an amazing example of a man of courage and faith in the Bible.
Before his conversion he was a powerful leader named Saul who thought he was doing a service to God by killing Christians. He was so powerful he could march into any city, arrest Christians, and have them executed. I don’t know anyone else with that type of power as a world leader!
When God confronted Saul on the road to Damascus, he changed Saul’s heart. Later his name changed to what we know as Paul, who the Lord used to write many books of the Bible.
What I truly love about Paul, was how much he loved the people of God. He helped churches get started and didn’t just leave them high and dry but rather made sure they were equipped and followed up with them either by letter or in person.
Paul was also very encouraging to the followers of Jesus. In most of his letters to the churches, he encouraged them how to be content, grateful, confident in Jesus, how important unity and prayer for each other were, to not lose heart when they would hear about his imprisonments, and how to conduct themselves as Christians. (Read Galations, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians)
Ephesians 3:19– Paul stresses to the churches just how important unity was. He was in love with the Lord and desired for their personal relationships with God to be passionate and full of love. To desire God more than anything and to love and encourage each other as the church and body of Christ. Not to be jealous of each others spiritual gifts, but to see them as building up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11– He speaks on our purposes in the body of Christ.)
The last verse, Ephesians 4:20 we usually tag this reference to something that God has done in our life that we stand in awe over. And that is fine but really the real reason for this verse was Paul’s confidence that if they truly would love God will all their hearts and seek a knowledge of who He is, that they could live in unity. The Jews and the Gentiles did not get along, but Paul encouraged and emphasized the importance of getting to know Jesus. Because the more you love Jesus the less you become offended..going back to my post on reactions…when you are anchored in Christ and allow Him to control you, your reactions to a wronging or hurt won’t be in anger but in compassion and love. A wrong reaction proves that the situation or the person controlled you instead of Christ. So Paul, experiencing this type of love wanted them to have the same.
I think of how many times Paul was beaten and imprisoned for preaching the Word of God. I put myself in his sandals and think would I have complained and whined to God? I know I probably would not have been happy or said things like he did “In whatever state I am in, I am content.”-Philippians 4:11. But the more I grow to love Jesus, the more my criticism of others and life grow less. And the only thing that is important is to live for Him.
Hope this encouraged you today to strive for unity within the body of Christ. How can the hand of Christ reach others when it is too busy pointing at the sin of other believers and or lost people? Try not to be that hand that points but the hand that holds.