By Frank Eiklor
"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
Paul was no actor. The words spoken above were not part of a Hollywood script for a movie hero who, in real life, is usually anything but a role model. Here was a Jew paying the greatest price (he would finally die a martyr) to be faithful to Messiah Jesus. Only the resurrected Lord could have stilled the rage of this man who had helped kill Stephen in Saul's own declared war against Jesus. But from the moment Saul of Tarsus knew the truth, every atom of his being belonged to Christ.
Imagine being hunted down everywhere you go -- beaten and stoned -- imprisoned and never free from hardships and pain. Now he was going to Jerusalem with his twin companions -- "imprisonment and suffering" awaiting him (v 23 Amplified). But Paul had already died -- to self -- so nothing could move him from doing God's will and finishing the course set before him.
Is the Holy Spirit developing this kind of character in you? Have you nailed your own will to His cross and determined that each day -- to the end of your days -- will be only "Lord, what will You have me do?" Yesterday that was Paul. Today it should be you and me. God has a specific plan for your life. It is to testify His gospel to others. But that plan can only be fully known as we make the choice to count only Jesus as dear and not our own lives.
"Forbid, Oh my Father, that I should live a soft, smug, selfish life. Make me a soldier who seeks only Your will and orders -- and make my heart one that will not be moved away from Your claim over me."