By Heidi Vegh, Crosswalk.com
Right Heart Space
By Heidi Vegh
“God, who had set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…” Gal 1:15
Paul is my favorite apostle in the Bible. Are you wondering what an apostle is? It means “person sent.” Paul was formerly known as Saul. He was a persecutor of Christians. He was on a mission to kill and destroy anyone who was a follower of Jesus because he believed that the message of Jesus was dangerous to Judaism.
In a dramatic turn of events, Jesus physically met Saul on a road leading to Damascus. Jesus confronted him about persecution and blinded his eyes. The Lord then sent Saul to a man named Ananias in Damascus. The Lord told Ananias to pray for this man so that he may regain his sight and turn from his wicked ways.
When Saul found Ananias, he prayed for him, and “something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength” (Acts 9:18-19). This is the most profound and miraculous conversion story in the Bible. After his encounter with Jesus, Saul changed his name to Paul and began preaching the good news to anyone who would listen. He spent his years traveling from place-to-place teaching that Jews and Gentiles alike are acceptable to God. Jesus is the way the truth and the life and He is the way everlasting (John 14:6)
Paul authored 14 books in the New Testament in the form of letters. He wrote to churches across the ancient world encouraging them in their faith and praying for them to have the strength to endure the hardship that came with being a follower of Jesus. Paul was transformed by the power of Jesus. Have you been transformed by the power of Jesus? If the answer is yes, then you also have a responsibility to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:16-20).
Here are three foundation attitudes we must possess to effectively share the Good News:
1. Paul surrendered all control of his life to serving Jesus. Paul chose to live his life as a slave to God with his only purpose being to spread the Gospel. This was not something that was forced upon him, he simply chose to live a life fully devoted to sharing Jesus with the world.
When we understand God’s goodness, our responses turn out to be total abandonment of ourselves to God’s plan. (Romans 12:1) When we truly understand the sacrifice that Jesus made for us to be fully forgiven our attitude ought to be one of utter thankfulness and a high priority of sharing this with others. Paul had a willing heart to abandon everything else in his life.
“Do you not know that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price…” ( 1 Cor. 6: 19-20)
Our mindset should be that in heaven we will rest but on earth, we shall work. We ought to live in full surrender and abandonment of personal comfort, daily agenda, control, and self-protection, among other things. This attitude led him to excruciating persecution, but he endured to be able to share the truth of the love of Jesus with everyone he found.
2. Have you been called?
Has God put something in your heart that you can’t help but let out? Have others told you about their vision for your life? When we know what we are called to do it produces boldness, focus, and perseverance. If you are not sure of your calling, spend some time with the Lord seeking Him and His plan for your life. If you know Jesus, then He has a plan for you to spread the Gospel. The question is how and when.
Where does he want you? To be an Apostle of Christ you must have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you, have godly character, and possess a healthy doctrine. We are to plant seeds of truth wherever we go.
3. Set apart for Jesus
When we do find our calling, it doesn't always mean that it will happen right away. The Lord needs to prepare our hearts, and our minds and align our lives with what He has for us to do. It took Paul 17 years to finally reach the place where he could effectively share the Gospel and plant churches in desolate places.
Living for Jesus and sharing who He is not something to be taken lightly. We are influencing people to become like us, like Jesus. Our attitudes and reactions reflect who we are in Christ. Jesus explained this to us in Matthew chapter 7. “A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit”. This was a warning that we will become like those we follow.
God takes His time to work with us so that we can become effective ministers of the gospel. We don’t want our brokenness spread to others. This is not to say that he waits for us to be perfect, but he will wait for our hearts and attitudes to be in the right place, and He will wait until we are fully surrendered to all He has for us.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Is there anything holding you back from sharing the gospel with those around you? Perhaps it is fear of death, ridicule, or loss? Have you been poorly taught or are you too distracted to listen? Are you struggling with distrusting human authority, pride, or impatience?
Ask God to bring you to a place of surrender. Acknowledge God’s call on your life and if you are not sure what that is then spend time with Him and pursue what He wants from you. Surround yourself with a church of people that can support your calling. In the meantime, be active in the church. Don’t get frustrated if your calling takes time, His timing is always perfect.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/yrabota
Heidi Vegh is a writer, speaker, and ministry leader living in Western Washington. She is a remarried mother of four, navigating the blended family life after the loss of her first husband to cancer in 2013. She longs to use her writing as a way to encourage others who have experienced loss and guide them on the road to healing. She contributes to her blog found at www.mrsheidivegh.com , sharing stories and devotionals of faith stemming from her loss and healing, mothering, and her blended and complex family. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in Creative Writing and English and is working on her first book. Heidi is the Women’s Ministry Director at her local church and has a deep heart for sharing Jesus with women and encouraging them in their faith walk. When she is not writing, she loves to travel, read, craft, and experiment in the kitchen. Visit her Facebook and Instagram (@mrsheidivegh) to learn more.