Two Passages From the Apostle Paul That Shape My Life

I believe all the Bible is full of interesting insights, Godly wisdom and general instructions about living. It teaches us about loving God and our neighbor. It pushes us toward new and uncomfortable ideas. Within its pages, I find peace and encouragement that I can discover nowhere else.

With that said, there are some books and chapters that I am continually drawn too. They connect with me on a deeper level and move me in profound ways. There are within the pages of the Bible lines that speak to me in an extremely personal way.

Here are two passages that have shaped my life and I return to them week after week. I hope they help you as you live and serve the Lord.

1. 1 Timothy 1:15-16 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. (16) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (NIV)

There are not many days that go by where I do not feel the weight of my sin. I say the wrong thing, I do the wrong thing, or at the very least I think evil thoughts. I am a sinner, and in my mind, I am one of the worst ever to live. And yet, God offers his salvation to me. No matter how I view myself God sees me as a person worthy of his grace.

The second line also catches me. It is possible that other people see me the same way that I view myself. They may take note of all my sins and shortcomings and label me with ugly names, but God chose me to show the world his unlimited patience. God says that my messed up life is not a bad example for people to avoid, rather a display of the power of God at work.

2. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. (7) So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (NIV)

My life is not about completing a task and making a name for myself. My life is serving God in the best way I can and allowing him to use that work for his glory. Each one of us has a role to fill for the kingdom of God. Some plant the seeds of faith in the lives of people. Other people water that seed through their service and their teaching. I might also add that there are people who work the soil and those who add fertilizer. Some individuals instruct farmers on the best practices, and there are those who pull weeds that hurt the plant. Paul’s analogy is not limited to a seed and some water. The process of growth includes several specialized steps to bring about growth.

There are many days I feel like my work never sees completion. Seasons come and go, and I never get the joy of the harvest. That is okay because I am not working for my own success. I give my time for the kingdom of God, and my purpose is to bring him glory.

Some days my faith seems more like a struggle than a walk in the park. I am disappointed in myself and in the work I am doing. Then I am reminded that God is still working on me and possibly using me as an example to people of his grace. God is taking my life and using it in ways I never imagined. Even in tough days, God is still at work in me and through me.

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