Today we read one of my favorite sections of Acts, Paul’s farewell speech to the Ephesian elders.
Not only is Paul’s speech thick with theology, but it is also heavy with emotion, giving us a glimpse of the impact Paul’s pastoral care had on the church.
Also noteworthy is Paul’s commitment to obeying the Lord no matter the personal cost. Consider Paul’s words to the Ephesian elders as he determines to travel to Jerusalem and face probable “imprisonments” and “afflictions…”
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).
Paul’s whole-hearted devotion is uncomfortably challenging to me! But the reading in 1 Chronicles reminds me of an encouraging truth…
God was not with Saul, and he failed…miserably. Whereas, God was with David, and even though he lived through great hardship on his road to the throne (all of which is omitted from 1 Chronicles), he was empowered by God to not just endure the hardship – but to overcome it.
Paul’s deep commitment to his call did not come from something inside himself. He didn’t muster up that sort of faith through self-will. No! He was empowered by the Spirit.
And so are we! As I am convicted of a lack of devotion and feeling feeble in my faith, I realize that this is exactly the way I should feel, because I am weak! I know that if I confess my weakness to God – he will meet me there and empower me to meet life’s challenges.
This is the way of the gospel. God has resurrection power – the power to bring life out of death. This is the same power he uses to bring strength out of weakness. His grace is sufficient. It always is!