I have a friend who once referred to the Apostle Paul in one of her sermons as her ‘pin up’ boy. What was she saying by that statement? Simply that he was her hero and she greatly esteemed him and the stand he made for the gospel. Reading through the book of Acts about the life of Paul, takes your breathe away. Only someone who truly knew the Lord could live the way he lived and impact lives the way he did. People seemed to respond to Paul in two main ways. They either hated him and wanted to kill him, or they loved him with a passion. No doubt there were those who swayed momentarily between the two extremes, such as the Corinthian and Galatians, who came under his apostolic discipline.
Paul had a black and white personality and was a strong defender of truth, but he was also at times, wonderfully pastoral. He genuinely cared for those he had shared the Gospel with, and we read several times that he returned to places to strengthen and encourage the believers. (Acts 20:1-2, Acts 14:21-22, 1 Thessalonians 2:11–12) The apostle Paul really was a spiritual father to many and those who understood his heart and were willing to submit to his fatherly discipline, grew to love him (Philemon 10, 1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 Timothy 1:2). In Acts 20 we read that as Paul prepared to leave for Jerusalem the Ephesian elders ‘wept as they embraced and kissed him’. Paul and his companions had to literally tear themselves away from them as the sentiment ran so deep (Acts 21:1).
I can easily understand why the Apostle Paul is my friend’s hero. Actually, he’s mine as well, as there were many godly attributes he had that I would like to see reproduced in my own life. Paul was a man of God who was totally ‘sold out’ for the gospel and refused to see it compromised. He also had a tender, fatherly side, and though often surrounded by fierce enemies, drew to himself many spiritual children, some of whom were even willing to die alongside him for the sake of the Gospel.
Prayer: Father God, there’s so much we can learn from Bible characters such as the Apostle Paul. Help us to imitate that in them which is godly, and approved of by You. We want to be faithful children who leave ‘Your mark’ on this world. Amen.
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