Have you ever heard someone give their testimony and been blown away by how God has changed their life? I can recall listening to many testimonies through the years that moved me to tears over how God changes people inside and out. People share their stories in the hopes of touching someone in such a way as to move them to accept Jesus. Among these many stories are those of people that were lost to drugs and alcohol, a former Muslim cleric trained for Jihad who is now a missionary, and countless other stories of people facing tragic circumstances that find their salvation in Christ.
Then there is Paul. Much like those that I have already mentioned, Paul has a dramatic story. After all, who among us can say that we lived our lives in opposition to Jesus, seeking to persecute Christians, only to have Jesus himself appear before us to tell us that he was “appointing you as a servant” and “sending you to open their eyes to turn them from darkness to light.” Not only did this happen in Paul’s life but he also embraced Jesus’ assignment and his salvation to the point of using his standing before King Agrippa to defend himself to share his testimony.
Paul embraced God’s purpose for his life.
In doing so Paul gives us all a model to follow in sharing our faith. He does so in the following ways:
By demonstrating unwavering belief…
When we are left waiting, aren’t we often worn down by Satan’s evils, the judgment of others, the indecision of our fate, our unanswered prayers, being left in the dark?
Two years passed and Paul’s testimony never changed. If anything, his faith was stronger. He appealed to go see Caesar, prolonging his imprisonment perhaps knowing full well several more years would pass, spending his life being chained to someone, knowing that he might never be physically free again, and that death may be as close as tomorrow.
By demonstrating a sound mind…
Paul’s conviction is sound and matter of fact. No panic….no rambling….no worries….no wavering testimony…it’s almost like he is not looking to be freed because he knows in his heart and mind he is already free.
By demonstrating faith like a child….
Paul is trusting, innocent and faithful. As an adult it is not often that I sustain my faith in a constant steadfast manner…or that I seek for God to challenge me…facing the unscrupulous judgment of others. Paul was able to stand before Festus and Agrippa claiming (in chapter 25, verse 11) “If however I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die.”
And in 26:22, “But I have Gods help to this very day, so I stand here to testify to small and great alike.”
Paul has turned his misfortune into an opportunity. His faith in God has allowed him be:
persuasive, inviting and urgent.
Not rude or pushy.
Prepare yourself: accept God’s purpose for your life. Put yourself out in this world without judgment of those you stand before, and extend your invitation. Do this regardless of your circumstances. Embrace the Spirit.
Lord please help me to be more like Paul, by helping me to share my faith in you despite the circumstances I find myself in. Allow the convictions of my heart to invite others to see, feel, and hear your presence and glory. In Jesus name, Amen.