Paul completely trusted the Lord, and yielded his life to what the Lord wanted him to do and when he wanted him to do it. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) Not only did he trust, he persevered and continued to walk in the steps “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10), while “press[ing] toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14).
Paul recognized that we are not given grace and gifts for our benefit alone; we are to use these gifts in service to the Body of Christ, as we are “ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as you were called in ONE hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism; ONE God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph 4:4-6)
As I think over that we aren’t given what we have for our own pleasure, I know it’s true because God’s Word tells me that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own… For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)
Jesus purchased me from my slavery to sin, and I am now His bondservant (Rom 1:1), which means I’m to ask Him first how He wants me to serve Him and His kingdom, rather than to think of myself. As a Christ follower, I am to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1b-2).
Paul was called to be an apostle, which is the gift he was given. The rest of us have different gifts we’re given to use in service to the Lord. Paul willingly delighted to serve the Lord and submit to Him in everything, and we are to follow his example because “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24).
Jesus said to become a true disciple we must “deny [our]self, and take up [our] cross daily, and follow [Him]” (Luke 9:23). We are to identify with Christ, which requires being His disciple; and identifying with His surrender, His sacrifice and His suffering. As His disciple, we must not only hear or read His Word but also apply what His Word says to do.
Wherever we go or whatever we do we are to do it as unto the Lord. No matter what we think and how we act – whether we live or whether we die, we belong to the Lord and what we do is supposed to glorify His name. “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom 14:8)
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that in all things I live to please You – not in my own strength but through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Bring me to the point with I can say without hesitation, Thy will, not mine be done. Lord. You know I struggle to push aside the sin of pride which entangles me When I don’t my life and speech does not glorify You, and I know that I grieve the Holy Spirit. Lord, You have been reminding me that to truly be free, I must let go of my own desires, passions and wants and lay those at the foot of the cross. Lord, I thank You that You promised to share my burdens and to give me rest from the sin that so easily entangles me. I am grateful for those You have put in my life who regularly remind me that this life of mine here on earth isn’t truly mine, but Yours because if I live, I live to You. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.