Live to the Hilt – Paul, the Man

“Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”  This was found in a journal of Jim Elliot, martyred missionary.  Even though the apostle Paul spent thirty-three years of his life without Christ, the rest of his life exploded with meaning and purpose, as well as difficulty and conflict.  After his conversion to Christ, he spent the next fourteen years in seclusion and preparation for his ordained mission.  He spent nearly ten years of his life travelling and propagating the full message of the gospel, most always under duress.  He spent about nine years of his life in prison.  Four years was spent in travel between venues.  His life ended as a martyr, executed just outside of Rome.

Charles Swindoll says that, “When God wants to do an impossible task He takes an impossible man and crushes him.”  Through Paul’s immediate conversion, lengthy preparation, eventful journeys, continual trials, and several imprisonments, God did the impossible.  Jesus Christ ministered within a 175 mile radius.  Through the Holy Spirit, Paul expanded that physical periphery to one thousand miles.

“God’s call has everything to do with living one’s life in obedience…through action.  It does not merely require a mind, but a body too.  It is God’s call to be fully human, living in obedience to the One who made us, which is the fulfillment of our destiny.  It is not a cramped, compromised, circumspect life…but a life lived in a kind of wild, joyful, full-throated freedom.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Throughout his various travels and exploits, Paul wrote several letters to different regions, churches, and individuals.  Thirteen of them are contained in the canon of the Scripture.  In our next post, “Always Frontier…Paul’s Mission and Message,” we will explore the writings.