Christ transformed the apostle Paul from a persecutor of the church into His chosen messenger of the gospel. Wherever he went, he proclaimed Christ and encouraged believers. His life is an example of one who never gave up but kept trusting God and persevering despite opposition and affliction.
Consider these challenges he faced: Although Paul was stoned and left for dead in Lystra, this didn’t stop him. Amazingly, he got up and went to another town the next day to proclaim the gospel there (Acts 14:19-20). Paul was also repeatedly jailed for preaching about Jesus, yet he never felt sorry for himself. The Holy Spirit within him was his Comforter. At one point, as Paul was being transported to Rome for imprisonment, the ship was in danger of sinking because of a storm. When everyone was discouraged and losing hope, Paul encouraged them not to give up (Acts 27:21-36).
Despite these difficulties, Paul persevered in the faith and still encourages us today through the letters he wrote to the churches. Here are a few exhortations from those letters he left for us:
Romans. Nothing can “separate us from the love of God ... in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
Galatians. The Holy Spirit manifests through us qualities we could never produce ourselves—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).
Corinthians. We are assured of our future resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-58).
Ephesians. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and sealed us as His children with His Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:4, 13-14).
Philippians. He promises to supply all our needs “according to His riches in glory” (Phil. 4:19).
Colossians. We have God’s instructions regarding our relationships with each other (Col. 3:18-21).
Thessalonians. We are given hope for the resurrection of our loved ones and our ultimate reunion with Christ (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Do you feel encouraged by these words? Paul had a strong faith in an even stronger God. When we remind ourselves of these great truths he shares, we too will be strengthened and able to face any challenges that come our way—and lift others up along the way. Everyone needs hope, so don’t hesitate to share the hope we have in Christ every day.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Being an Encourager” which airs this weekend on TV.