Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“Devoted Heart, Clay Feet”

"Devoted Heart, Clay Feet"     

    Likely so that we would not exalt him, Scripture chronicles a failure of the Apostle Paul to obey God despite the Lord's obvious revelation and confirmation of His will to our brother of old.

    "And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem… And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done" (Acts 21:4; 10-14).

   A further reading of Acts 21 reveals Paul doing things in Jerusalem that raise further questions about his response to God's will at this point in his life.  In no way do I mean to criticize our blessed brother of old for his failures.  I rather suggest that the Apostle's Biblically reported missteps serve as vivid warning that we must not view any human being as above and beyond failure.  Paul himself, well into his life and ministry, realized that he was not beyond the possibility of significant wandering from the path of righteousness:

    "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Corinthians 9:27).

   We do well to frequently thank God for the Apostle Paul.  His New Testament writings provide the most vivid revelation of what it means to walk with God in the current dispensation of grace and truth in the Lord Jesus.  Moreover, his life serves as a great example of Christ-enabled faith and faithfulness.  The Bible nevertheless reports the clay feet that accompanied Paul's devoted heart.  We all have them, and while no excuse ever exists for distrust and disobedience, we acknowledge the possibility and admit the times when we have stubbornly journeyed on wayward paths.  Our merciful and patient Heavenly Father's continues His working nonetheless, as He so obviously did in the life of the Apostle.  "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).  Thus, we affix and focus our gaze on the Christ who alone lived a perfect earthly life, and who presently fulfills His Heavenly ministry of "ever living to make intercession" for us (Hebrews 7:25).  Thereby Paul regained his spiritual footing and finished the course God laid before him, and thereby we will finish our own course by "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

"Let no man glory in men."
(I Corinthians 3:21)

Weekly Memory Verse 
   For Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for Thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
(Psalm 31:3)

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