Following the Example of Paul

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    Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God… Romans 1:1

    Above is the beginning of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Many of his letters begin in a similar fashion. There are three phrases in the above verse give us some valuable insight into Paul’s character and his heart for the Lord (does your heart beat for the Lord Jesus like this?):

    1] “A servant of Christ Jesus” – Paul recognized his place in his relationship with God, as a bond-servant or, literally, a slave. Not as a child with certain rights, comforts and entitlements. As Christ-followers, we too are bond-servants of Jesus. A slave does whatever he is told to do; a slave has no right to complain and no right to refuse the instructions of his master – his obligation is to obey, no matter what. Do we view ourselves as this type of servant to Jesus Christ?

    2] “Called to be an apostle” – Paul had a specific calling from God, and he knew exactly what it was. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent”; the word “called” means “appointed by God for a specific task or purpose”. God appointed Paul to be “sent” to the nations to bring them the Gospel – the message that Christ died for our sins. This was Paul’s life’s purpose, and he took it very seriously. We too have been called by God for a specific purpose. Do you know your calling? Are you fulfilling it?

    3] “Set apart for the gospel of God” – to be “set apart” means to be dedicated for a special purpose, to be different than the rest of the world. Paul was not simple-minded; he was single-minded. His one and only focus was to glorify God by bringing the gospel to the gentiles – non-Jews living in Europe and Asia Minor who had never heard the Good News. In fact, he considered everything else in his life a loss, rubbish (see Philippians 3:8). God also calls us to be set apart for a specific purpose. Are we single-minded like Paul, focusing only on this one thing?

    I pray that you and I would each be more like Paul – a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.

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