A couple months back I was traveling to Arkansas. We had to cut through Mississippi, so we took a back rode. Sure it required some twist and turns, but I think that rode had to been one of the highlights of that trip. Out there driving in the pitch black – The dark I’m talking about, if you ever been to a farm or camping, where you can’t see your hand in front of the face. That dark! I was fortunate to see the sky for it’s true beauty. I love the city, but there’s something about the sky in the country. I mean you could see all the stars!! You could make out all the constellations….such a sight! If I wasn’t going to China, I don’t think I would have ever been traveling to AR. There would have been no need to cut through MS. I would have missed the beauty God created. Yesss, I know every night the stars are there. But the chance for me going into the woods would have been very slim.
I came across this quote a couple weeks back:
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway
I love Saul from the bible, yall. I mean this dude is pure example of what happens when you believe and experience the Gospel. This dude went from hunting down the disciples, followers of Christ, to a man who not only followed Christ, but went ALL over preaching Christ’s message. I mean WHAT THE BEEP. Like in today’s times it’d be like you hate the vegetarians, you are the head spokesperson for Hating Vegetarians campaign. You hunt any vegetarian down and kill them. Then one day you meet the Great Vegetarian, become a vegetarian and go around pronouncing your vegetarian ways. What a 180! Dude did such a 180 he had his name changed to Paul. Paul’s passion for Our Savior is a pure example of what type of Christians we need to be.
Acts 9 gives the full account of his conversion, check it out! One thing I love in God’s plan for bringing Paul into the church, body of Christians, is what the Lord told Ananias:
“But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” — Acts 9:15-16
The Lord had a planned for Paul wayyy before Saul had the idea. Verse 16 kills me! “How much he must suffer for my name.” If you aren’t familiar with Paul’s life, this dude ended up in jail countless times! Majority of the New Testament are letters written by Paul to different churches or brothers in Christ while he is laid up in prison. I guess it could be seen as deranged. It gives me peace to know a believer of Christ will suffer solely from knowing His name.
I’m not perfect. I’m constantly – and when I say constantly I mean habitually messing up the “Christian” lifestyle. I curse, judge, lust…I’m still a sinner just one that no longer idly follows Jesus. Trying to be perfect, frankly my dear, ain’t no walk in the park. Joyously, I can say if we know, believe, and follow Jesus we gonna suffer. His job is the purification and gunk scraping part. Even though this seems as a punishment, we need to be broken so He can heal us. Sorry to break the news to you, but it’s for your good. Paul gets this and eloquently writes this to Timothy:
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners –of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever, Amen” — 1 Timothy 1:15-17 that inscription gonna be tattooed on me later in life
Patience is what the Lord extends towards His children. He knows we are gonna suffer and mess up. Paul goes around proclaiming Jesus’s name, but still sees himself as “the worst of sinners”. The enemy doesn’t want you following Jesus. He likes you idle. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m telling you he knows how to trick us. I fall for it every dam time. He is cunning and will make us suffer. He likes to keep us discouraged and full of self pity. But at the end of the day, Satan, the enemy, the Father of Lies, has been beaten.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” — James 4:7
You are not the same person you were back then. My prayer is your former self won’t haunt you. Time in again I find myself in the shadow of my past mistakes and self. The lies I find myself believing, your own lies, are not from God. They are from the prince of this world. We are not of this world BUT Children of God. At the end of the day not to be cliched the tomb is empty!! We have miles and miles to go before we sleep, so “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”