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Hold On --Wage War with Your Faith

When the Apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, saying to him to fight the fight of faith and wage war with the prophetic words he had received, he was giving him a father’s wisdom.


We can learn so much about the art of overcoming by faith through the lens of a man named Saul, renamed by Jesus to be called Paul.


Paul was no stranger to trials.  During his lifetime he was shipwrecked three times and beaten with rods three times.  The Jewish leaders gave him thirty-nine lashes five times, and he was stoned. 


He wrote about his tribulations to the church in Corinth.  He said he had worked harder, been put in prison more often, whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.


26 I have traveled on many long journeys.  I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers.  I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles.  I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas.  And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.  27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights.  I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food.  I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.  28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. - 2Co 11:26-28 NLT


The Apostle Paul was sentenced to a hard life for the sake of the Gospel.  But he said he would rather boast about the things that show how weak he was because Jesus, his Lord, was worthy of eternal praise.


Paul went from being authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who called on the name of Lord Jesus to be a chosen instrument of God to take the gospel message to the Gentiles and kings, as well as to the people of Israel.


Concerning Saul (Paul), the Lord said, And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” - Act 9:16


Would you serve God if you had to suffer?

 

Most people would not.  But there is suffering in servanthood. 


In Paul’s later years, he wrote to the Philippian church saying that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  – Phil 3:10-11


The Apostle penned these words while in prison and awaiting impending execution.  Yet, he did not waver in faith and even though he welcomed death for Jesus’ sake, he was equally concerned to continue his apostleship. 

He urged the church to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling while saying that it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13).


The Apostle Paul, once named Saul, learned how to live by faith.  He penned the largest percentage of the New Testament and lived a life dead to himself and alive in Christ.  His old ways and beliefs were no longer relevant to his new nature.  Faith had gotten hold of him, and religion was loosed.  He became a bondservant to the Gospel and worked diligently and by faith to fulfill his calling.


One of Apostle Paul's most famous statements can be found in his letter to the Corinthians. He said, 8 [We are] hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. - 2Co 4:8-10 NKJV


This man’s letters are still being read today, and many people are strengthened by his faith.  Surely, he did not know that his fame would spread throughout the world and that his experiences, both painful and joyful, would be used to build the body of Christ.


I urge you today to live like there is no tomorrow.  Live like this might be your last chance to share your joy and sorrow with others and how your faith in Jesus Christ has captivated your weaknesses and made you strong enough to overcome every obstacle set before you on this Jesus journey.


But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. - Heb 11:6 NKJV






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