Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not an Easy Journey

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him. (Philippians 1:29)

Most of you by now that when one commits to Christ, it is not an easy journey! There is no greater example of this than the apostle Paul.

Luke builds up the picture of Saul as a rampaging wild beast in his hateful opposition to the disciples of the Lord (compare Acts 8:3; Gal 1:13, 23). When the NIV renders "threats and murder" as murderous threats, something is lost of the reference to the two-part Jewish judicial process (Longenecker 1981:368) and the highlighting of Saul's violence (Lake and Cadbury 1979:99).

Saul does not just make threats (compare Acts 4:17, 29); he helps bring about actual executions (Acts 8:1; 26:10).

As Saul travels to Damascus at midday, he experiences the divine presence: a light from heaven flashing around him and a voice addressing him.

"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4)

As Saul deeply considers that "why?" and accepts the divine perspective on his actions, his whole spiritual world will be turned upside down. What was gain will become loss. (Phil 3:6-9).

As we come to the end of a school year, for most it has not been an easy journey. Good times? . . . yes. Challenges? . . . of course. Disappointments? . . . oh yeah! It all comes with the territory when one commits to doing things God's way!

Our old ways of defining success have changed. The old ways of defining the excellent student are gone. Teachers and parents are not evaluated by grades alone. It's not about the outside: grades, awards, or the applause of men. It is about completing the race . . . fulfilling the task . . . making it to the finish line!

We must be faithful to the task, as Paul was, despite the ups and downs!

God's timetable is not based upon our calendar of events, but His eternal design. It is not over until God says it's done! Keep leaning forward. The finish line is ahead. It is not an easy journey, but the only one worth running!

Run hard in the right direction!

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