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Hang Tight

One day in the late Spring they came to his cell in the Mamertine Prison in Rome and opened the door.  His executioners led him out of the city on the Ostian Road.

As they were walking out, other travelers would have been walking into Rome.  They would have paid very little attention to him.  No one would have recognized his face.  No one would have known his crime.  He was just another prisoner, just another “dead man walking.”

After traveling a few miles out, the executioners would have stopped.  A block would be laid down.  His head would be placed upon it, a sword would be raised, and in an instant the head of the most influential writer of all times would roll upon the ground.

Paul had known his share of suffering, but he did not run from his calling, he hung tight.  If we could look closer, we would see how scars spread across his back like a windshield crack and how wounds stiffened his joints.  His own account of his hardships included floggings, lashings, beatings with rods, pelting with stones, shipwrecks, dangers from rivers and bandits, as well as both Jews and Gentiles.  It seemed to not matter where he was, he was in danger in the city and in the country, danger at sea and from false believers.  He knew hard labor, lack of sleep, hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness (2 Cor. 11:23-29).

It’s a surprise that he could move at all, but move he did.  From Corinth to Ephesus, from Thessalonica to Colossae, he left his footprints all over the known world of his day.  As I stated on Sunday, his visits to these cities were not for sightseeing or vacationing.  No, he worked long days of preaching and establishing churches.

When he wasn’t walking he was writing.  He wrote letters to the church in Rome and Corinth and Galatia and Ephesus.  He wrote to Titus and he wrote to Timothy.  Letters that continue to bless and encourage the readers; reveal to others God’s grace and how it can turn this world upside down; and his life was spent telling others about it.  Until that day on the Ostian Road, when he drew his last breath.

When you face struggles because of your faith, remember Paul.  He anchored himself to a purpose that was higher and greater than his life. There are many fights you can fight, but Paul trained himself for the “good fight” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

His fight did not end at death.  His writings have encouraged, pushed, and educated followers of Christ, and will continue to do so for eternity.  He gave himself totally to the building up of God’s kingdom and eternal things.

He fought fights, and in the end, the only ones that really mattered were those that dealt with eternal issues, lives of people who needed to have a life transformation relationship with Jesus Christ.

We all have battles that we face, fights that we fight.  Choose those battles wisely, and “Fight the good fight.”  And like Paul, finish the race well, so hang tight.

See you Sunday for week 31 the final week of the Story!

Pastor Tim Asbill Jr.
Lead Pastor