October 10, 2015

Why The Apostle Paul Kept It "REAL" and So Should You

Years ago, when I first started studying and dissecting the bible, I not only learned valuable spiritual lessons from the failures and successes, of the individuals in it, I also discovered that they were human just like me. 

So, it use to amaze me how theologians and pastors made every effort to present the early disciples apostles as perfect and without any flaws.

Each and every person in the Bible had their own issues. Unfortunately, "Human biographers are inclined to include the best and omit or treat lightly any deficiencies of delinquencies." J. Oswald Sanders

Paul was always concerned about being an example for others. He kept it, "REAL". He never wanted others to think that he was better or above them. 

Instead, he chose to do what no other disciple in the Bible did, share with us the issues and personal failings in his life.

Paul was careful to let us know he had faults like we do when he said, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Hebrews 4:15 KJV

Notice the word infirmities. One of its meanings is, "a personal failings."

For someone to be able to sympathize and understand what you are going through, they themselves have had to experience it or something similar.

Paul was able to understand and talk about his "thorn" or personal issues, share his testimonies and teach the way he did because he was human, just like you and me.

Hear Paul when he said, "We also are men of like passions" Acts 14:15 KJV. 

One of the meanings of the word passions is to be human. The various bible translations use these two words interchangeably.

Here's the dictionary meaning of the word passion as it relates to Acts 14:15.
  • Strong feelings in our flesh 
  • Emotions, like rage and anger 
  • Love and affections 
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Sexual desire
"I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection." Phil. 3:12-14

In other words, Paul is saying,"I'm not perfect, I have faults too!"

Show me another apostle that shared with us their faults... Not one. 

Paul's openness and transparency is a mark of a true leader.

"I was given a thorn in the flesh—a nagging nuisance of Satan, a messenger to plague me!" 2 Corinthians 12:7

What type of thorn could have been such a "nagging nuisance" to Paul?

Paul says that this "nuisance is of Satan". Hmm...

In 1 Corinthians 6:16 Paul says, "No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does."

In Romans 7:7-24, Paul shares with us what the "Law" revealed to him about his faults. In verse 8, the KJV uses the word concupiscence

Did you know that concupiscence means: strong sexual desire or lust? 

Paul's "thorn" revealed that he was human, just like you and me.

For years, and in every office or vocation that I've held, from Sunday school teacher, superintendent or pastor, I have always taught the scriptures in a way that the listener could relate. I keep it real. You should too.

When you include the roughness, pimples and the warts, of those in the bible exactly as they were, the hearer can relate and realize their own transformation as attainable.

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