One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Acts 19:15
So are you famous? I’m part of the nameless crowd myself, I’ve been doing some subbing for teachers here and there and I’m more commonly called, “teacher”, “um you” or “hey, hey I need you” much more than my actual given birth name. That’s okay, I really don’t mind, actually the latter has a nice ring to it, at least I know I’m needed for that moment right!!
Seriously though, Acts 19:15 (above) really got me thinking as I read through 2 Corinthians 6:3-12 detailing the apostle Paul’s hardships. The list is intense and not for the faint of heart for sure. Paul talks of beatings, imprisonments, sleepless nights, hunger… yet read verses 6-9 with me… in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; Holy moly! Somehow in all this intense hardship Paul can speak of understanding, patience, kindness and sincere love… sincere! Found where? In the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised to all of us believers before He ascended into heaven (John 14:16-18).
Paul speaks of being in the power of God and being equipped with weapons of righteousness in both hands! He says he is known yet regarded as unknown. He was not accepted among many of the intellectuals of Jerusalem because he now preached Jesus as Savior and Lord, God of all! Paul had learned Jesus through living out real hard life. He experienced time and time again NOT the rectifying of all his hopes and dreams and all problems fixed according to his expectations this side of heaven…. BUT that truly, truly as cannot be explained but must be experienced, that the promised faithful presence of the great I AM truly is enough! It’s enough.
Jesus you are enough, (Matt. 13:16).
Sometimes it would be easier if we could just take a course and write a paper but often times the way we grow the most is not the easy way. Paul was not on the easy route by any means but he chose to stay the course, why?! Because he had experienced Jesus and there is nothing like Him, there is no high like the Most High! …his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jer.20:9
Since the beginning in the garden of Eden, the enemy has been trying to get us to doubt God’s Word and His character. Yet God displays His character clearly through His Word and He faithfully meets every expectation held up in His Word! I begin to doubt when what I thought He would do doesn’t add up to my reality but that’s when I need to go back to the promises He has made me in His faithful Word. He died to save me. He rose again to give me eternal life. He is coming back to bring me to His perfect Kingdom. In this world I will have trouble but I’m to take heart because He has overcome it and stronger is He who is in me than who is in the world. He will never leave me. His strength is made perfect in weakness. The list goes on and on but I need to pray that Jesus continue to enrapture my heart till I’m held breathless with the joy found only in Him because this life can steal that breath right out leaving me with out a heart beat too.
John 10:10 says the enemy has only come to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus has come to give life abundantly. 2 Cor. 11:14 tells us the enemy masquerades as an angel of light – so we must be on our guard! Jer. 17:7 says we are blessed if our confidence and trust is in Him. In Him not in us because He understands things we can’t and knows things we don’t.
2 Cor. 8:9 states, For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. He is not asking more from us than He gave Himself and He knows it’s hard and He’s given us who believe, His Spirit within us! I will not overcome this world in my own strength or might or power but by His Spirit says the LORD Almighty (Zech. 4:6) The LORD Almighty, not some mighty but The ALL mighty says that!
So I can choose to say like Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. Jesus I want to know you like that!!! Give me please an ever increasing trust and faith in You that I might not ever be shaken. I may not be well known in famous circles on this earth (or even in small classrooms) but with a faith unshakable I will be known in the world to come, the one that matters. (Luke 10:20)
Paul felt unknown yet somehow the demons knew him and saw him as a threat. Paul was changing the population of heaven and hell in the midst of incredible hardships (yes hardshipS plural) and still is to this day with the torch of faith he left behind! I may go by “hey you” but I want to be known by the demons as a threat. In this world I will have trouble so Jesus squeeze every ounce of glory to Your Almighty name that You can from my hardships as You promise You can in Romans 8:28!! Make me one that will not be shaken from the faith by doubt when my own expectations go unmet; one that will stand firm on Your promises declared in Your faithful Word of Truth declaring You are just Who You say You are Jesus. Love, Faithful, Truth…
He is good, He has a plan and it is immeasurably more than I could ever even imagine wanting… just wait, the unknown will be made known and those of us who stood firm to the end will stand victorious with The most famous One.
Independent Read: Eph. 3:20, Phil. 4:13, John 3:16, John 16:33, Phil. 2:10-11, 1 Cor. 13:12, Psalm 46:5