Something You Need to Know About Paul

Tucked away in the story of Paul’s journey to Jerusalem is a short story that tells us much about Paul:

When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.”

The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.
(Acts 21:17- 24, 26, NIV)

After arriving in Jerusalem, Paul visited James, the brother of Jesus, and the church elders. He shared with them all the wonderful things God had done through his ministry, and there was much rejoicing. The elders mentioned a potential problem within the church concerning Paul’s work among the Gentiles.

When the leaders explained the misunderstanding about his ministry and suggested a way to fix it, Paul did not argue; he listened and followed their advice. He was humble, not proud. He did not see himself as the greatest; he saw himself as a servant.

It’s easy to become proud. It is easy to think we have all the answers. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and think we’ve done more for God than others.

However, we need to follow the example of Paul. We need to humble ourselves to the leadership of the church. We need to err on the side of reconciliation. We need to remember God is the One working in and through us.

Humble yourself before the leadership of Christ. Ask Him to show you where you may have wronged others, and seek His guidance in fixing it.

By LaRaine Rice

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