As I am in the midst of change – a new job, both my boys will start working soon, a new heaven opening for our church and ourselves – I had a look at the live of Paul to see how he handled change.
In Paul’s live we can distinguish four phases:
- Basics – before his conversion, schooled by Gamliel, coming into the focus of the bible when watching the cloths of the people stoning Stephen, und then persecuting the church.
- Growth – conversion experience on the road to Damascus, causing uproar in both Damascus and Jerusalem, having to flee from both places due to his childish overzeal. Childish as in 1. John 2:12. He ended up in the Arabian desertand in Tarsus.
- Mature for Service – when Barnabas needed somebody to help him lead the Antioch church, being sent out as apostle, founding churches, break with Barnabas, founding his own apostolic team with people already in position like Silas the prophet. Youth as in 1. John 1:12.
- Mature for Live – starts to multiply himself in Timothy and others (Titus, Onesimus, Luke, …). A father as in 1. John 2:13.
- Convergence – all comes together when inprisoned, serving through his letters: Gal, Eph, Php, Col, 1/2 Th, Tit, Phm. Many theological concepts come to their fulness in this period, and he can say: I ran the race.
Paul never knew in advance, when change was going to happen, apart from the last big shift when warned by Agabus that he would be inprisoned when going to Jerusalem. But he had people talking into his live, helping him to make the right decisions, and he prayed more in toungs then any body else (1Co 14:18).
Wanting to know in advance, being disobedient, doing things prematurely – all childish things. And I want to leave behind all childish things.