Paul the Apostle is one of the greatest men to have lived on the earth, and prior to his change of name he was called Saul of Tarsus.
He is the author of 8-13 New Testament books, and a mentor to many, he can be regarded as the perfect example of how a Christian should live.
Before he became a slave of Jesus Christ, he was a persecutor of Christians. Acts 8:1 and 9:1-2 gives an account of Saul’s role in Stephen’s death as well as how he used to slaughter anyone who followed Christ. But just one encounter with Christ changed Saul’s life completely.
Here are five lessons from Paul’s life that we can learn and use in our lives as well:
1. Paul lived life to please God and not man
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul sounds very bold in this verse and behind his boldness for Christ, we need to look at the verse that comes before and after verse 10. Verses 8-9 read, “Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.” Verses 11-12 read, “Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.”
Paul was very serious about the things of God and bluntly made it clear that he couldn’t care about what people thought of him.
2. Paul was a selfless person
Romans 9:3 “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.”
Humility and selflessness go hand in hand. Paul cared a lot for the Jews and was willing to give up his own salvation to save them.
What a level of selflessness. Paul truly lived John 15:13 as he endured imprisonment, shipwreck, and beatings all for those who have not heard the Gospel.
3. Paul was focused on the calling of God in his life
Philippians 1:20-22 “20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!”
Paul lived for the spreading of the gospel. He was an evangelist and knew that his calling on earth was to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.
All the letters he wrote to the church, were about his fervor and desire to come and visit the churches in the future, even though he was writing from prison (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18).
4. He was a humble man
1 Corinthians 9:27 “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.’
Even with all his stature in the church at that time, Paul never thought of himself to be immune to sin. He also said that he did things he hated and couldn’t bring himself to do what he wanted to do (Romans 7:15).
Paul was not one who lived in lack as he was a Roman citizen who was brought up Jewish, studying under one of the most notable rabbis, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). But still, he was one of the most humble people in the Bible, and always lived with eternity in mind. (Philippians 3:14).