The governing authorities in charge of Paul's trial are at a loss on what to do with him. He's an honest man who has been an upstanding citizen and has shown great respect for the governing authorities over him during his imprisonment. Despite the sentence of condemnation against him and the petition from the religious leaders that Paul deserved to die, those in charge of officially examining his life decided that he had "done nothing deserving of death."
In the midst of an extremely divisive climate in our culture, we could use some wisdom on how to best engage in heated conversations without throwing gas on the fire. As we also live in what has become a post-Christian society, we could use some wisdom on how to best share the teachings of Jesus in a way that corrects misunderstandings about him and that confronts the ways that he is often misrepresented.
The fact that Paul could be at peace and stay content in the midst of everything that he had experienced was an amazing mindset, but it’s also one that’s available to every other follower of Jesus as well. And so, how can we get to a place in our own life where we can actually say with integrity that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”?
There is a particular type of faith that we can possess which is the same type of faith that we see in the nine who didn't return. It is a faith that is commonly birthed from experiencing circumstances of great desperation. It's a faith that cries out to God for mercy and is even willing to try anything the Lord might prescribe. However, it's a faith that at its core is seeking personal gain rather than God’s loving grace. It's a faith that cares more about what God has to offer rather than the offer of God Himself.
It is safe to say that Leviticus is not on anyone's list of favorite books of the bible. I had someone text me this morning to state quite plainly and honestly, "It's okay to say Leviticus is boring right?" And while the majority of the book does seem tedious and out of touch with our new covenant relationship with God, there are some heavy principles found within the book that shed some much needed perspective on our view of God and our relationship with him.
Submission and humility are two characteristics contrary to our self-seeking sinful nature. If we are honest with ourselves, the main reason we speak badly about other people and judge others according to our own standards is for self-exaltation. And one natural way to exalt ourselves is to bring others down.