Honestly, if Paul would have known the hellish infliction coming his way when he started his ministry, I am sure he would have at least paused before setting out on his life journey. Some might say this is crazy for me to assume Paul would have had reservations, but let us remove the hero badge from Paul and understand that Paul was a normal human being who would not have embraced punishment like a Roman flogging under his own strength and desires. Yes, Paul had great faith in Jesus Christ to sustain him, provide for his needs, encourage his soul, and lead him to his next mission but that faith, however, had to grow from a seed just like the faith of a believer in Jesus Christ today must grow from an infant stage. Thus, through Paul experiencing the daily toils and struggles of life with Jesus Christ as his solid foundation, Paul grew into the great man of the faith we know him as today. By Paul allowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to permeate the direction of his life, Paul accomplished all that God had for him and became a lasting witness to the power of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
This principle still holds true for believers today. Like Paul when he started his journey with the Lord, he had to grow in faith and understanding of the Lord. As Paul journeyed with the Lord, allowing the Lord to take control of his life and future, Paul experienced struggles and seemingly overwhelming situations. However, by leaning on the Lord as his source of contentment and strength Paul grew in his understanding of the Lord, grew in his love for the Lord, and became the giant of the faith we know today. You may be facing some daunting situation in your personal life. You may be experiencing some turmoil in your family. Or, maybe you are like so many other believers who continue to put their heads down and push forward in life but you have bills, a spouse, kids, other family members, jobs, and other situations of life that are seemingly overwhelming at times. Let me encourage you with the principle of Philippians 4:11b-13: Jesus Christ is the answer to finding contentment in whatever your circumstance and Jesus Christ is the strength to making it through whatever your circumstance. As you journey with the Lord in this manner you will learn about a relationship with Jesus Christ on a more intimate level and you will grow into a great man or woman of God.
James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years.
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.