“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1Tim.15:16 NIV)What inspires you? For me, inspiration comes when someone overcomes adversity. I always root for the underdog because there is something in me that loves to see the unlikely candidate win. I want to see someone with all the odds stacked against them rise to the occasion and succeed. Because of this, I carry an intense admiration for regular people who beat the odds.
The odds can be anything. They can be fighting a debilitating disease. The struggle can be a lifelong cycle someone is trying to break. It can come in the form of the abused rising up to say, “I’m not going to take this anymore.” Whatever the case, people who fight and fight and fight win my admiration.
Paul inspires me. He inspires me because he was fighting against Jesus. He was persecuting the church, killing Christians and wallowing in his own self-righteousness. But one day, in an instant that changed. The Lord Jesus Christ came to Paul causing his motivation to be redirected. He started fighting for the gospel instead of against it. He started standing with the persecuted, unworthy and outcasts. He went to those who were considered the lower class and shared the love of Jesus.
The thing that inspires me most about Paul is that he never forgot where he came from. Paul came from a very religious family. He was trained and educated with the best of the best. His plan for his life would have made him an honored man in his community. But rather, he turned and started working for the Lord. And he remembered. He wasn’t self-condemning; he was simply aware. And he used this to share his conversion with others.
You see, it’s easier to minister to someone when we are on the same level. Sometimes, we perch ourselves on branches high above others calling them to rise to our standard. Rather, we should come to them, walk alongside and share who we were before Christ. Our status didn’t change because of anything we did, only because of Christ. We were undeserving and unworthy until someone shared the love of God with us.
Last week, I shared a little of my story with someone. She had shared a piece of her history with me and I felt compelled simply so I could say, “I understand a little of what you’ve experienced.” I don’t share much of my story and am intrigued with the assumptions people have. Even more so, I am reminded that my presumption of others is often wrong. In reality, we all came from an ugly place. We all started and continue as sinners. The only thing good in us is Christ who dwells in us. It is a miracle that a Holy God would choose “the worst of sinners” to spread His love.
- 9-13-13 – The Foremost Sinner (leadingfamilydevotions.com)