THE APOSTLE PAUL LIVED HIS LIFE AS A REFLECTION OF CHRIST
How does the Lord want us to live? We have been blessed with life. Since we know not how long we will live, we are to make the most of the time we are given. It is a time to live for Christ. In our daily walk, we have the opportunity to bring Him honor, to love, bless and encourage others, to spread His good news of salvation and to be His ambassadors on earth.
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” — 1 Corinthians 11:1
What does it look like to live for the Lord? Let us look at the life of the apostle Paul. In this man of God, we see a Christlike model. We see him living as Jesus lived. Christ was his life. A miraculous encounter with his risen Lord changed him forever. He was never the same. His heart became like that of his Savior.
Paul became a mentor to so many throughout his life as he preached and taught. Everywhere he went, and in all the churches he established, he exemplified a life of Christlikeness. How were these new Christians to live? They were to be imitators of Paul who manifested the character of Christ.
“Now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” — Philippians 1:20-21
Paul put Christ first in his life. He sought absolute union with his Lord, both in this life and in the life that was to come. He longed to see Jesus face to face in heaven. Yet until his time came, Paul would abide with his Lord in this life. He would continue to live for Him and devote himself to the spread of the gospel.
Paul desired a life that brought Christ glory. He knew from personal revelation the One to whom he owed his all. He prioritized his life around his Savior. All his plans, all his travels, all his writings revolved around and proclaimed Christ and His kingdom. Paul’s life reflected an honor and reverence for His Messiah.
“Let all that you do be done in love.” — 1 Corinthians 16:14
Paul blessed and encouraged everyone he met with the love of Jesus. His life was so permeated with the adoring love of his Savior that it overflowed to everyone he met. Love reigned in this apostle’s heart and shone in his life. His ministry had love as its very foundation. Countless people were touched, encouraged and blessed by his Christlike love.
“God our Savior… wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” — 1 Timothy 2:3-4
Paul’s heart for the unsaved was like that of His Savior. He longed for their repentance and conversion. Over his lifetime, we know of three missionary journeys that took him thousands of miles throughout the lands around the Mediterranean. Multitudes were brought to salvation in Christ by his ministry and new churches were established throughout the region.
“He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Paul persuasively and persistently shared the good news with all he met, both Jews and Gentiles. Yet he especially ministered to the Gentiles, for that was his specific calling from the Lord. He fulfilled the Great Commission of Jesus… to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. This became Paul’s life mission.
Paul served as an ambassador for Christ. Ambassadors represent their place of origin. Paul knew his true home was in heaven with his Lord. Yet throughout his time of ministry, he lived a life that honored his Savior… a life above reproach for all to see… a life that pointed to the One to whom he owed everything.
“Let your life be a reflection that points others back to God.”
How then are we to live? We can look to the apostle Paul as a model for our lives because his life modeled that of Jesus. Let us live a life of Christlikeness… putting our Lord first, honoring Him, giving His love to our world, spreading His good news of salvation to the lost, living as His ambassadors. Like Paul, let us live our lives as a reflection of our Savior.