PAUL’S MOTIVE FOR MINISTRY – 1

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:9-21

The second half of chapter five tells us a tremendous amount about the passion and motives for Paul’s ministry. Over the next few days, we will look at some of the things that motivated Paul.

Firstly, Paul was motivated by a desire to please God [verse 9]. Some versions of the Bible translate this phrase, “to be accepted by God.” The phrase in Greek is euarestoi einai meaning to be well pleasing; and then acceptable, or approved. To be well pleasing to God is not to obey a list of rules and regulations, but to live in communion with Him and let Him have every part of us, so that the Holy Spirit can work through us. What most pleases God is when He sees His Son Jesus increasingly formed in us, and that we become like Him. God’s plan for us is that we should be “conformed to the image of His dear Son” [Romans 8:29]

The songwriter summed this up in the following words:

“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All His wonderful passion and purity.

O Thou Spirit divine all my nature refine, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”

Jim Elliot, one of the five missionary martyrs to Ecuador, wrote some remarkable statements in his diary. It was Jim Elliot who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” He prayed, “Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” Jim Elliot said that the degree he most coveted was an A.U.G. – standing for Approved unto God! [Quotes taken from Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot]. In a very real sense what motivated Paul was that desire to be approved unto God!

One of the most remarkable novels ever written was In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon. First published in 1897, it sold more than 30 million copies. It was the story of a group of committed Christians who resolved to ask themselves whenever they had hard decisions to make, “What would Jesus do?”. This led them to a dedication that avoided easy choices, and instead opting for difficult but spiritually rewarding projects in service of others.

Questions:

What does it mean to be approved unto God?

Has there been a growth in the last year in your relationship and walk with God? If so what have been the main reasons for this? If not, what can you do about it?

Would it be helpful to you to make a habit of asking the question, “What would Jesus do” before each thing that you do?