The One Thing Paul Did: Part One
Paul, who started as one of Christianity's most zealous enemies, was hand-picked by Christ to become the Gospel's most passionate messenger. He traveled tirelessly through the earth, taking the message of the Gospel with miracles, signs and wonders to the Gentiles. Paul stands today as one of the all-time giants of Christianity.
As we study the life of Paul a question remains. What were the determining factors that propelled him to greatness? He is one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament, revelation poured forth from his hand as he penned letters to churches that ended up penetrating hearts beyond his generation. God revealed the mysteries of His Kingdom and manifested revival in almost every city that he walked through.
Yet this pioneer of Apostolic Faith found himself in what seemed to be an inescapable fate. A deep prison encapsulated him and would try to choke the very vision of his destiny. Hardships and betrayals had left him with but a few friends to turn to in the hardest point in his life. While most would have given up; Paul's passion for Christ drove him to dive deeper into his purpose and do that 'one thing'.
He did what many could never do in the face of great adversity. Some would have just thought on their past accomplishments as badges of success and rode them out to the end. But Paul recognized his past was only a preview to his future greatness. He did something that separates all great men from the secure and satisfied. He forgot the things which he had done and reached to grab a greater glory in his future. He recognized this simple truth. It doesn't matter how you start. It only matters how you finish!
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14
Paul was faced with something that many people face in their lives, but never quite make it through to the other side. It is a period of time in one's life that either marks the finish of their story or a turning of the page to a second chapter. He was faced with a time of transition. We must be able to recognize and embrace transition when it comes. The hardest thing to do at times, is let go of the past and embrace the present. The way that we handle these times will, in turn, determine our future condition.
The Comeback King
The first topic I'd like to discuss in this article is: the place of coming back from failure and the three keys to accomplish this. Whether one would like to admit it or not, we know that at times we've made wrong choices that led to bad outcomes and, if we could, we'd do it all over again differently. We'd choose a different path. At any rate, here you are, faced with the difficult choice of giving up or pressing in to see better days. Do you determine to make history or fade into obscurity?
This is the question one faces when he is challenged with failure. This choice is not for God to decide, but for you to make. You were made by divine design, but where you end up in life will be determined by the decisions you make. Often these decisions are made not in the easy times, but the times of challenge and difficulty. The reality is that one must rise to the occasion of greatness by taking their position even in the midst of the prison.
The Ability to Redefine Oneself
There are three pivotal keys to unlocking the doors of a successful comeback. The first key one must recognize is: It's never too late to start again!You will never overcome your current condition of past failures until you recognize and become convinced that your dream has not come to an end, but has only begun. Its time to start again friend. You are heading to brighter days!
When you become convinced that there is still greatness in you, this is your redefining moment that will carry you back to your path of destiny. The ability to redefine oneself in the midst of what seem to be contradictions to your plan and purpose is the determining factor that mark you among those who finish strong. While many may see you as a “has been,” your determination to redefine yourself is placing a “has to be” factor in your future! With this up your sleeve you're unstoppable.
The second key to your comeback is: The ability to choose wisely those you have relationship with. This is huge when it comes to exiting the prison of failure. Everyone loves the lime light, but most don't like to deal with a mess. It is rare to find friends that will come by your side during the hardest times in your life. People who are willing to stay with you during your public humiliation and crucifixion. Those that endure the failures and tragedies of your life deserve to witness your resurrection and triumphant return.
There are usually two types of relationships you will encounter along your journey in life. There is John and there is Judas. These two relationships are as different as night is from day. A relationship with Judas is usually one sided and shallow. Judas is always wanting something in return for his services. He will kiss your face in public, but whisper your secret failures to others in private. John, on the other hand, will lay his head on your chest to listen to your heart to feel your pain.
Those we allow to speak into our lives will help forge a way, there will always be a Judas in the bunch, the point is to mark out the Johns. They may be unpolished and rough around the edges, but they will stick it out with you during the heated days. These are the kind of people that care more about your well being than their name or persona. These people are gems and valuable beyond measure. Whatever you do don’t let them go!
Never Settle In The Past
The third key to transitioning to a comeback is: changing your current direction to refocus on your God given vision. If your always focused on what's behind you, you'll never be able to see what lies ahead for you. We refocus by speaking and writing the vision we have been given. Without this key we are doomed to repeat the past!
“And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:2-3
The voice you listen to today, will determine the direction you take toward your future. To transition to a comeback you must shut out all contrary voices that detour your destiny. Only hear the voice of faith, it is the force that is propelling you to a higher place! Its a place of victory.
Our past failures may sit with us in our present condition, but to step into a new day we must forget what we have done and never settle for the place called the past. Words are key when it comes to making this transition. Your words not only affect your future, they change your present surroundings.
Remember, words of faith are vehicles that move you through transitions in your life to see real transformation. What you are speaking will determine where you end up. Ask yourself this question today. What am I speaking? Speak LIFE!
In closing, I want to say this; Our past failures can trap us in and give us no hope of a brighter day, but past victories can do something even more deadly. They can bring complacency and cause us to try and coast to the finish line. This is what we will discuss next time in Part 2 of “The One Thing Paul Did” in The Prophet's Loft.
Three Keys to Finishing Strong:
1.The ability to Redefine oneself.
2.The ability to Choose Wisely those you have relationship with.
3.The ability to Never Settle in the place called the past.
By Charlie Shamp