Salvation happens in a moment, maturity takes place over a lifetime. The process of progress in Christlikeness is called discipleship. A disciple is one who is continuously being pressed towards obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their life. This week we look at the life of Paul and how God deconstructed and reconstructed him into a fully devoted Christ-follower. Take some time as you read to contemplate where you are in your discipleship with Jesus. We would also love for you to share this devotional with your friends.
“Whether then it was I or they, so we preach . . .” 1 Corinthians 15:11
Every great work of God requires time and preparation. It’s a simple fact, God will not use us until He has made us ready.
Saul blew into town as the next big teaching sensation to hit the church. He was the most famous converted Pharisee with a razor-sharp lawyer’s mind and vast knowledge of the Holy scrolls. He was there to preach Jesus to all who would listen. And no one did.
But, Saul was not ready for frontline ministry. In fact, the Lord had a long period of preparation. Saul’s impressive abilities and background, combined with his dramatic conversion story, did not qualify him for ministry. Saul’s life had to catch up with his mouth. He needed a strong foundation to support what God would eventually do through him. We, like Saul, need a good dose of reality about ministry.
Without Him we can do nothing.
God will use any means possible to do away with our best efforts; to do away with our self-generated energy. Whether this happens through failure, or loss, we all must come to the end of ourselves. God loves to reduce, renew, and refine to make us fit to serve.
No one is indispensable.
God wants you, but he doesn’t need you. After Saul left town, the church experienced peace, comfort, growth, and a greater measure of the Spirit’s presence. They got along fine without Saul’s influence. Sometimes, God has to put us on the shelf while He prepares us for greater service in the future.
It takes time.
After Saul’s disruption of the church, we don’t hear of him for eight years. We should never underestimate the value of life in the shadows. It’s a time to recharge, rest, and a time of training. It’s in the quiet times that God prepares us for the fast currents of success.
The Lord is never in a hurry, He’s building you for eternity. Sometimes, He will take His own sweet time in getting us ready. It’s good to remember that Jesus spent eighteen years in obscurity preparing for three years of ministry.
Are you willing for God to prepare you on His terms and on His timetable? Will you be humble in the process?